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From Parts to Networks

The sequencing of the first human genome provided a "parts list" that needs to be placed into a larger context of how those parts work together, László Barabási from Northeastern University tells NOVA Next.

Barabási and other researchers like Marc Vidal at Dana-Farber Cancer Center and Joseph Loscalzo at Harvard Medical School are looking to make connections between DNA and proteins to see how the parts all fit together and identify what networks are involved in certain diseases.

Barabási says the "diseasome" is like a map of Manhattan in that certain activities tend to cluster like plays on Broadway or trading on Wall Street. They've uncovered, NOVA Next says, some disease modules where genes and proteins involved in a certain disease tend to clump.

"Future medical treatments may not focus on a particular genetic mutation, but rather on the biological routes through which diseases are expressed," NOVA Next adds.