The cells in our body are home to thousands of tiny molecules called RNAs. There are many different types of RNAs – some carry the code for specific proteins to be made, some transport things within the cell, and some can influence which genes get turned on or off. New RNAs and their functions are still being discovered. Researchers in the lab of Isidore Rigoutsos, PhD in the Computational Medicine Center at Thomas Jefferson University described new properties for a little known class of RNAs called “ribosomal RNA-derived fragments,” or rRFs.
The researchers analyzed samples from around 450 healthy individuals who participated in the 1000 Genomes Project, an international effort to catalog genetic variants in human populations. The samples originated from 5 different populations around the world. The analysis focused on a group of approximately 50,000 molecules that derive from ribosomal RNA (rRNA). These rRNA-derived fragments had initially been thought to be byproducts of waste and degradation. “In fact, we discovered that this large class of short regulatory RNAs are produced in a regimented manner,” says Tess Cherlin, PhD candidate and first author of the study. Of the thousands of rRFs found, many were present in all the samples. However, a significant number of rRFs seemed dependent on certain attributes of the individual. “We found that the presence of this type of RNA is influenced by whether the person is male or female, or their population of origin,” says Tess… Continue reading.
“We’re all the same, but we’re unique as well. In that uniqueness lies all of the answers….”
Mark Tykocinski, MD, Provost, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Thomas Jefferson University
Getting the answers to what causes some people to develop diseases and not others is driving the groundbreaking medical research being conducted by the Computational Medicine Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
Using a high-performance computing (HPC) platform powered by IBM, Isidore Rigoutsos, PhD, Founder and Director of the Computational Medicine Center at Thomas Jefferson University, and his team are deepening our understanding of disease and wellness at the individual patient level by analyzing massive amounts of diverse biological datasets. This data can then be used to guide development of new and more effective diagnostic techniques and therapies to benefit patients – with the data providing levels of personalization never seen before… Continue reading.