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Variagenics Finds Way to Analyze Effects of SNPs

NEW YORK, March 23 – SNP-detection company Variagenics of Cambridge, Mass., said Friday it has developed a way to analyze the functional impacts of certain SNPs.

The findings have been published in this week’s issue of the Journal of Molecular
Biology, which describes the computational method for predicting functional consequences of non-synonymous SNPs. These SNPs cause amino acid substitutions in proteins and are less prevalent than synoymous SNPs, or the polymorphisms in protein encoding regions that do not affect protein sequence.

The methodology allows researchers to predict which SNPs that encode for amino acid substitutions are most likely to affect the function or stability of a target protein.

“This is a powerful tool for prioritizing the SNPs and haplotypes most likely
to affect drug response,” Colin Dykes, vice president of research and genomics at Variagenics, said in a statement. “It reinforces our recommendations to drug developers regarding patient populations to study in clinical trials.”

The study’s authors, Daniel Chasman and R. Mark Adams, estimated that about 26 – 32 percent of the natural non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms in the human genome have effects on function.

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