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Study advances field of precision medicine

A new method of quickly mapping the genome of single cells, while also clarifying the spatial position of the cells within the body, has been revealed.

The discovery represents another milestone in the field of precision medicine, it is claimed.

“It gives us a lot more precision,” said senior author Andrew Adey. 

“The single-cell aspect gives us the ability to track the molecular changes within each cell type. Our new study also allows the capture of where those cells were positioned within complex tissues, as opposed to a slurry of cells from the entire sample.”

Scientists applied a method of indexing large numbers of single cells in hundreds of microbiopsies taken from a portion of the brain in mice and from human brain tissue kept in the Oregon Health and Science University Brain Bank.

Researchers isolated tiny pieces in cross sections of tissues and used an existing technique of single-cell profiling to find differences in the epigenetic profiles of the cells with respect to their position in the tissue.

The technique could be especially useful where it’s necessary to precisely identify and target cells from specific structures within a tissue, such as cancer, or in cases of stroke, which the authors explored in the study.

go.nature.com/3kK0bP8

Image Credit: iStock

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