The singing mouse
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is transforming today’s genomic research and is used in numerous applied areas from clinical diagnostics to academic research. In Texas USA, Dr. Steven Phelps and his research team recently used NGS sequencing to discover a gene which allows mice to communicate by singing a song. I have to admit it sounds more like screaming than singing to me. But Phelps and his team found out that a gene called FOXP2 is responsible for this way of communication.
Phelps’ uses next-generation sequencing to decipher how FOXP2 interacts with DNA to regulate the function of other genes. The process involves reading tiny fragments of overlapping DNA so that the entire sequence can be deduced. It is a procedure that generates massive amount of data that only the processing power of a supercomputer can handle, said O’Connell (Source: www.tacc.utexas.edu). So data handling & storage is still one of the biggest challenges when performing Next Generation Sequencing projects. But now take the chance an listen to the song of this little mouse.