HudsonAlpha Celebrates Genome Accomplishment

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -      Employees at HudsonAlpha took time to celebrate, and often when they cut the cake, employees with sweet-teeth aren't the only ones who benefit.

Their most recent achievement, publishing tomes upon tomes of genetic knowledge, pushes science past an important crossroads created by the Human Genome Project that concluded almost a decade ago.

HudsonAlpha's Dr. Rick Myers says, "It was a big project that essentially gave us the book of life for a human being, but we didn't know how to read it."

That is, they didn't know how to read it until HudsonAlpha researchers and others developed the Rosetta Stone of genetics.

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Dr. Myers explains, "What this project, the 'Encode' project, has done is taken those 3 billion letters in that book of life and tried to decipher as much of it as we possibly can."

The translation helps us understand the cause of diseases like cancer and could also change the way we treat them.

Dr. Myers says, "Being able to use the genetic information that we learn from this kind of study allows you to then develop a biomarker, a way to actually test if a person needs the drug then or later, and how much drug they need."

Researchers say the next major breakthrough in understanding is within reach.

Dr. Myers adds, "I don't think we're far off from being able to diagnose diseases earlier, much earlier, long before symptoms. [We can] use that information to either prevent or stop that disease in its tracks, and then, even when you have disease, to develop drugs and other kinds of treatments."

With the catalog of information now finalized, the next breakthrough in fighting disease seems just around the corner. The next cake should be even sweeter.

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