Viruses Face the Ultimate Test
Shotgun sequencing is a powerful tool in microbial genomics, but viral genomes have proven tough to crack. Enter ViroCap and its ability to enhance shotgun sequencing to detect the vast majority of viruses infecting humans and animals in a single test. For viruses, is there anywhere left to hide?
William Aryitey |
Ever since Watson, Crick, Wilkins and Franklin's discovery of the double helix, we have longed to unlock the secrets of every base pair. The completion of the Human Genome Project, while an amazing achievement, was just the start – we immediately set to work on mapping as many variations, mutations and interactions that influence our genes in health and disease as we could. And why stop at the human genome? After all, the very first genomes to be sequenced were those of microbes, and there are obvious benefits to knowing the genetic makeup of the thousands of microorganisms that live within and alongside us, especially those that cause disease. The development of new, faster genome sequencing technologies has made it feasible to sequence any microbial DNA found in a sample – the basis of the relatively new science of metagenomics.
(Shot)gunning for viral genomes
It was the identification of a gene back in 1971 – 16S ribosomal RNA – found in all bacteria, that made molecular identification of bacterial pathogens relatively simple, explains Greg Storch, Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine. Greg, who assisted Kristine and Todd Wylie with the development of ViroCap says, “There is no single gene that we can amplify across all viruses, and that’s why we have to take the much broader approach of metagenomic shotgun sequencing (MSS).”
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