Gregorio Valdez, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and his team have designed a search engine, called EvoCor. It reportedly identifies genes that are functionally linked. The name, a portmanteau of “evolution” and “correlation,” points to the idea that genes with a similar evolutionary history and expression pattern have evolved together to control a specific biological process. The goal is to find ways to treat diseases that often have a genetic component, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists have long known that many diseases are inherited but identifying the genes that cause the problems has always been difficult because of the mountain of data that needs to be evaluated. To identify candidate genes, scientists have relied on expensive and time-consuming biochemical approaches. EvoCor takes advantage of the wealth of publicly available genome and gene expression datasets to generate a list of candidate genes. Combing through the 21,000 human genes already mapped, 182 different genomes, and large gene expression datasets all maintained by the National Institutes of Health is a huge task. EvoCor makes it far more manageable.
You can read more in an article by Ashley Wennersherron in the Medical Xpress web site at http://goo.gl/3Zvv5C.