SAN DIEGO, Feb. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Human Longevity, Inc. scientists have published a significant breakthrough in genomic science by utilizing HLI's database of whole genome information to better understand the structure and influence of the noncoding genome – which accounts for 98% of the overall whole genome. The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics by lead author Julia di Iulio, Ph.D., and senior authors Amalio Telenti, M.D., Ph.D. and J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.
In 2001, Dr. Venter, HLI's co-founder and CEO, led a team of scientists that sequenced and published the first draft of the human genome, detailing this vast structure. Over the last 17 years, scientists and clinicians have been able to best understand 2% of the whole genome – corresponding to the coding genome or elements that make proteins which are core to life.
Today, by being able to study the whole genome – rather than smaller portions of the full 6.4 billion letter structure, The HLI's team was able to identify regions of particular importance to humans and to the expression of disease – in other words, where we house illnesses.
By analyzing thousands of genomes, HLI's scientists determined that the components of the noncoding genome where variation was uncommon meant that those regions could be essential for survival and health, exposing new frontiers for genomic exploration.
Core to this study – which took 18 months – was identifying the basic structure of the genome by mathematical analysis of blocks of seven-letter units across the genome. From here, the team generated a reference map – published in Nature Genetics - to guide scientists towards the portions of the genome HLI's team determines to be critical for human health.
"What our team has done with this paper is take the next step in harnessing the power and possibility of the genome to benefit our understanding – and ideally eradication – of disease," said Dr. Venter. "Our goal at HLI and through the Health Nucleus, our clinical research and discovery center, is to inform and impact individual and population health, and with this knowledge we have taken a significant leap in doing so."
"It's likely that much of the 98% of the genome we don't know much about is dedicated to controlling the 2% we do," said Amalio Telenti, M.D., Ph.D. who served as HLI's Chief Scientist. "With this research, we sought to determine where we should be looking for the next medical applications of the genome and I'm proud of the work we have accomplished to further hone this science Craig sparked," said senior researcher Julia di Iulio, Ph.D.
In addition to scientists at HLI, this work was done in collaboration with scientists from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the J. Craig Venter Institute, and The Scripps Research Institute.
About Human Longevity, Inc.™
Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI) is the genomic-based, health intelligence company empowering proactive healthcare and enabling a life better lived. HLI combines the largest database of genomic and phenotypic data with machine learning to drive discoveries and revolutionize the practice of medicine. HLI's business focus includes the HLI Health Nucleus, a genomic-powered, clinical research and discovery center which uses whole genome sequence analysis, advanced clinical imaging and innovative machine learning, along with curated personal health information, to deliver the most complete picture of individual health. For more information, please visit http://www.humanlongevity.com.