How genes interact to build tissues and organisms

How genes interact to build tissues and organisms

News from CRG

Cells exist in transient, dynamic states and understanding them is fundamental to decipher diseases and find cures. Classic techniques used in the lab to study cell types faced limitations and did not enable a finely detailed profile of cell function.

To overcome this obstacle, a group of scientists at the National Centre for Genomic Analysis (CNAG-CRG) from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), in Barcelona, Spain, led by Holger Heyn, developed a new computational tool, based on the mathematical Graph theory, to infer global, large-scale regulatory networks, from healthy and pathological organs, such as those affected by diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers were able to pinpoint genes relevant to organ function and potential drivers of diseases. 

Up to now, single-cell analysis had been used to understand cell types and their function within tissue. The tool that this scientific team has now developed will enable them to go one step further, to see how genes interact to form tissues.

Iacono G, Massoni-Badosa R, Heyn H. “Single-cell transcriptomics unveils gene regulatory network plasticity.” Genome Biology, June 4 2019.

More information:
CRG website