TROPICAL MEDICINE GOES MOLECULARBy Monash University May 17, 2012 2:00PM UTC
Words: Dr Gio BraidottiNot everyone can make a machine able to explore the human genome and its vast network of DNA molecules; the frontier of ‘inner space’.It is a comparatively new speciality, where the machines are as pioneering as they are functional in their probing of the human body’s inner cosmos. These machines – DNA microarray scanners – make it possible to map this unfamiliar and information-rich space and scientists have invented a unique kind of cartography for the job. Called comparative genomics, it links the human body – its formation, ancestry, and breakdown during disease – to the structure of discrete regions on DNA molecules (genes) and the hereditary information they emanate. Like explorers of times past, genomics researchers too possess the potential to redraw the world – by forever changing our understanding and practise of medicine.