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New Automated System Puts Active Genes in the Spotlight

By Sharon Kingman
Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
LONDON – It is now possible to measure the activity of a multitude of genes in thousands of cells at once. The new method means that researchers will be able to rapidly detect differences in gene activity among the many cells of a tumor, for example, or among those of a tissue, whether healthy or diseased. Unlike previous methods for measuring gene activity in cells, the new technique permits visualization of the position of the messenger RNA (mRNA) derived from specific genes. As mRNA transcripts with similar functions seem to adopt common patterns in cells, the method therefore reveals which genes cooperate together in single cells.

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