Image-Based DNA Twist: The New Autism Mania


Researchers and scientists alike are working on a new type of molecular map that reveals the 3D architecture of the autism genome in the human body.

Autism and DNA Twist

Proteins known as Histones exist in the human body. The DNA winds around Histones proteins to fit in the nuclei of the human body. Chromatin, as this complex is abbreviated, further influences the genetic instructions that can be read and followed.

It is interesting to note that scientists have worked around the autism 3D structure by opening the cell nuclei and chemically freezing the chromatin before the DNA can intersect in folded form.

Scientists further use a technique that is popularly known as Hi-C, which helps by revealing the accurate location and size of multiple DBA loops based on data accrued from millions of cells that exist in the human body. However, the technique doesn’t help one get accurate details about the variations in chromosome structures that take place between cells.

The approach that has recently gained momentum is known to combine Hi-C with images of high resolution and validate by integrating with chromosome cells. Scientists believe the images will be helpful in providing a roadmap that could help in data analysis of single cells obtained through the Hi-C technique.

Further, researchers engineered embryonic stem cells from mice to create new images. Two fluorescent tags were combined during the research.

One of the labels was observed to act as a magnetic tape for DNA, while the second label was observed to stick to a histone that was found at the centromere.

The centromere is defined as a region that is found near the midpoint of chromosomes. The tags, when seen together through a microscope, were found to outline the shape of a chromosome.

The researchers further combined the Hi-C technique to freeze the Deoxyribonucleic Acid inside eight cells that were analyzed. Instead of opening the cells by breaking it down, the researchers created smaller openings in the nuclei membranes that allowed them to administer the Hi-C solution inside. The nuclei were confined to the freezing point to gain more efficiency in the reactions, which assisted researchers in being able to accurately analyze smaller amounts of chromatin found to exist in a single cell.

Computer software was used to match the obtained Hi-C data with the images that were obtained from the cells’ chromosomes.

This method revealed notable variation in the structure of the genome from one cell to the next. Alternatively, it showed other smaller regions of chromosomes that were topologically associated and were expected to end up in other locations. Although the sequences regulate and touch each other, they rarely influence other DNA segments.

Scientists use similar methods to analyze and determine the patterns of DNA, and these folding patterns are being implicated to gain a better understanding of autism.

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