DNA Day experts answer your questions about genetic data

Above: Image © MuhammadAbuHijleh, Wikimedia Commons

I've heard that we are kind of drowning in genetic data. Are we able to analyze all the info we have properly?

No. If we could, I'd be out of a job :-)

- Answer provided by Dr. Paul Gordon

Is the amount of data we have accumulated more than we have the knowledge base to analyze or interpret?

Because of all of the high-throughput experiments we have done using microarrays, DNA sequencing etc, have we accumulated too much data to analyze. We have definitely accumulated a lot of data, but I would argue that it is too much. Right now a new field of science (computational biology and bioinformatics) are developing tools and to visualize data very differently than a human eye. Computational tools such as algorithms called Machine learning (which iTUNES and amazon use all of them to determine what musicians you may like based on previous choices) are being trained to work on biological data sets and this is really showing significant discovery for biomarkers for complex disease. Complex disease have more than one gene that cause them, but scientists have not had access to technologies that could look at the whole genome across many subjects to determine where variation in the natural population ends and where disease begins.

- Answer provided by Dr. Dennis McCormac


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