Skip to main content
Biology LibreTexts

17.3C: Uses of Genome Sequences

  • Page ID
    13350
  • Genome sequences and expression can be analyzed using DNA microarrays, which can contribute to detection of disease and genetic disorders.

    Learning Objectives

    • Describe the various uses of genome sequences

    Key Points

    • DNA microarrays can be used to detect gene expression within specific samples by analyzing active genes and sequences using an array of DNA fragments fixed to a slide.
    • Genome sequences can be used to discover the possibility of disease and genetic disorders prior to onset.
    • Genome sequences can also be used to develop agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals.

    Key Terms

    • microarray: any of several devices containing a two-dimensional array of small quantities of biological material used for various types of assays
    • genomics: the study of the complete genome of an organism

    Uses of Genome Sequences

    DNA microarrays are methods used to detect gene expression by analyzing an array of DNA fragments that are fixed to a glass slide or a silicon chip to identify active genes and identify sequences. Almost one million genotypic abnormalities can be discovered using microarrays, whereas whole- genome sequencing can provide information about all six billion base pairs in the human genome. Although the study of medical applications of genome sequencing is interesting, this discipline tends to dwell on abnormal gene function. Knowledge of the entire genome will allow future onset diseases and other genetic disorders to be discovered early, which will allow for more informed decisions to be made about lifestyle, medication, and having children. Genomics is still in its infancy, although someday it may become routine to use whole-genome sequencing to screen every newborn to detect genetic abnormalities.

    image

    DNA Microarray: DNA microarrays can be used to analyze gene expression within the genome.

    In addition to disease and medicine, genomics can contribute to the development of novel enzymes that convert biomass to biofuel, which results in higher crop and fuel production, and lower cost to the consumer. This knowledge should allow better methods of control over the microbes that are used in the production of biofuels. Genomics could also improve the methods used to monitor the impact of pollutants on ecosystems and help clean up environmental contaminants. In addition, genomics has allowed for the development of agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals that could benefit medical science and agriculture.

    It sounds great to have all the knowledge we can get from whole-genome sequencing; however, humans have a responsibility to use this knowledge wisely. Otherwise, it could be easy to misuse the power of such knowledge, leading to discrimination based on a person’s genetics, human genetic engineering, and other ethical concerns. This information could also lead to legal issues regarding health and privacy.

    LICENSES AND ATTRIBUTIONS

    CC LICENSED CONTENT, SHARED PREVIOUSLY

    CC LICENSED CONTENT, SPECIFIC ATTRIBUTION