• Question: how do you gather samples of genes and what do you do with them?

    Asked by tiger2 to Ken on 14 Mar 2012. This question was also asked by siobhan97.
    • Photo: Ken Dutton-Regester

      Ken Dutton-Regester answered on 14 Mar 2012:

      Hmmm, this question is a little confusing- but no worries! Let me break it down a bit and see if I can answer it correct. Everyone more or less have the same number of genes in our body- the human genome contains about 25000 genes. When we say we have found a new gene for a disease- we really mean that its a variation in that gene that causes or predisposes someone to that disease (what a lot of people think is that only people with that disease have that gene, this is not true as we all have that gene, just not the variation). So when we do research to find genes involved in diseases- we are look at changes in our DNA. When we do this, we need to look at a lot of samples- in my case, looking at melanoma tumours from patients- in order to find if a particular variation appears more frequently in the diseased person compared to normal healthy people. Does that clears things up a bit?