Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Canadian Researchers Map Human Metabolome

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada today said they have completed the first draft of the human metabolome.
 
Describing the 2-year-old project as one that will “have more immediate impact on medicine and medical practices than the Human Genome Project,” the University of Alberta said researchers have catalogued  “2,500 metabolites, 1,200 drugs, and 3,500 food components that can be found in the human body.”
 
The Human Metabolome Project was funded with $7.5 million from Genome Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Machine Learning, and the University of Alberta.
 
Project leader David Wishart said metabolites “are the canaries in the coal mine” in terms of medical diagnostics, because the metabolome is highly sensitive to food, lifestyle, environment, seasons and even mood, the researchers said.
 
For example, Wishart said, a single base change in DNA “can lead to a 100,000-times change in metabolite levels.”
 
"Unfortunately, less than 1 percent of known metabolites are being used in routine clinical testing,” said Elliot Phillipson, president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
 
The metabolome will be gathered into a database, called the HMDB, which Wishart said will allow researchers to “find out what metabolites are associated with which diseases, what the normal and abnormal concentrations are, where the metabolites are found or what genes are associated with which metabolites.”

The Scan

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.

Tibetan Study Finds Adaptive Variant Influencing Skin Pigmentation

With a combination of phenotyping and genetic data, researchers document at PNAS a Tibetan-enriched enhancer variant influencing melanin synthesis and ultraviolet light response.

Domestication Linked to Nervous System Genes in Inbred Mouse Strains

Researchers highlighted more than 300 positively selected genes in domesticated mice, including genes linked to nervous system function or behavior in Genome Biology.

ALS Genetic Testing May Be Informative Across Age Ranges, Study Finds

Researchers in the journal Brain identified clinically actionable variants in a significant subset of older ALS patients, prompting them to point to the potential benefits of broader test use.