High Throughput Genomic & RNA Analysis
The High-throughput Genomic and RNA Analysis (HGRA) Core for the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) utilizes the resources and knowledge base of the Microarray Core Facility (MCF) at BCM. This newly named core represents a combination of two previously funded IDDRC cores (Core B2: Genomic Array Core and Core C4: Expression Array Core). As a new activity, the core will also offer next generation sequencing technology to users. The HGRA will continue to offer aCGH as a research activity for members of the BCM-IDDRC as an adjunct to the clinical efforts.
The HGRA core will combine cutting edge technologies to provide state-of-the-art quality microarray-based and next generation sequencing-based services and analyses for both transcriptional and genomic profiling. With the restructuring of the HGRA core, our purpose expands to providing assistance to BCM-IDDRC researchers in utilizing microarray technology, next generation sequencing technology, good experimental design, and data management and data analysis resources. We will begin offering next generation sequencing technology (Illumina Genome Analyzer II) to BCM-IDDRC members in March 2009.
Many BCM-IDDRC researchers are interested in utilizing state-of-the-art technologies such as microarray expression profiling to attempt to dissect the causes and effects associated with Mental Retardation (MR) and Intellectual Developmental Disorders (IDD). For individual laboratories, the costs associated with establishing a microarray capability is prohibitive (initial equipment purchases can cost between $250,000 and $750,000).
Within the past decade we have witnessed significant advancements in research that are directly associated with the output of the genome sequencing endeavor. The results of these achievements provide hope to investigators researching complex disease including MR. In MR, complex barriers to the identification of cause include not only chromosomal abnormalities (gross and submicroscopic) but alterations in one or several genes having aberrant expression profiles or even hundreds to thousands of genes with perturbed expression. This can result in a mishmash of MR gene expression profiles that is difficult to sort through presenting a challenge to researchers attempting to elucidate the cause and effect of MR.
The genome sequencing projects, however, did not just make us realize the challenges we face as researchers into the causes of MR. The explosion of data produced created a strong new field, bioinformatics. With bioinformatics we are now able to utilize in silico (computer-based) methods to deeply mine the sequence of these genomes and produce tools that will allow us to measure the “global” gene expression profile associated with a particular cell type, tissue, or animal.
Lisa White, Ph.D.
James R. Lupski, M.D., Ph.D.