What if you could find out if you had a predisposition to a diseased or condition early on in life? That could be the difference between life and death.
Well if you have an understanding of basic genetics, there is a new tool developed by Princeton University that will likely impress you.
Dubbed HEFalMp (Human Experimental/FunctionAL MaPper) and pronounced “heff-ah-lump,” the site looks at 229 biological processes and 147 genetic disorders in order to make predictions.
By mashing up genetic data from disparate sources and interpreting it with the help of computer algorithms informed by biological principles, the online system allows scientists to predict which genes might be involved in ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer.
According to Olga Troyanskaya, the Princeton professor who led the project:
“The scientific community has produced millions of points of genetic data in recent years, but has not achieved an equivalent understanding of how genes work…We need to translate this into knowledge about disease.”
The foundation of the tool is build around “functional mapping,” a method that combines the mathematical information with genetic mapping.
Whether or not the tool will lead to the development of cures or treatments remains to be seen, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
With so much disparate data floating around in Cyberspace from thousands of separate experiments, the Human Experimental/Functional Mapper pulls them all together.