Νάτη, εδώ, προχωρά με ταχείς ρυθμούς.
Αφού περιγράψει την πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα μεθοδολογία της ομάδας, ο Άλαν Τζόουνς μπαίνει στο ψητό:
So what can scientists learn about this data? […] Two great examples are drugs, Prozac and Wellbutrin. These are commonly prescribed antidepressants. […] So if you want to understand the action of drugs, you want to understand how they’re acting in the ways you want them to, and also in the ways you don’t want them to. In the side effect profile, etc., you want to see where those genes are turned on. And for the first time, we can actually do that.
Θέλεις δηλαδή να δεις σε ποιά κύτταρα του εγκεφάλου δρα ένα φάρμακο. Πληροφορία με προφανή χρησιμότητα. Και με τις μεθόδους που περιγράφει στο βίντεο, μπορείς να το δεις. Σε πόσα (και ποιά) από τα εκατό δισεκατομμύρια νευρικά κύτταρα.
Αλλά έχει κι άλλο:
One other thing you can do with such a thing is […] we can actually scan through the entire genome and find other proteins that show a similar fingerprint. So if you’re in drug discovery, for example, you can go through an entire listing of what the genome has on offer to find perhaps better drug targets and optimize.
Και τέλος κάτι σχετικό με τις γνωστές ανακοινώσεις τύπου “οι επιστήμονες βρήκαν το γονίδιο της παχυσαρκίας” ή πιο συγκεκριμένα “το γονίδιο της συγκέντρωσης” ή κάτι άλλο τέτοιο:
Most of you are probably familiar with genome-wide association studies in the form of people covering in the news saying, “Scientists have recently discovered the gene or genes which affect X.” And so these kinds of studies are routinely published by scientists and they’re great. They analyze large populations. They look at their entire genomes, and they try to find hot spots of activity that are linked causally to genes. But what you get out of such an exercise is simply a list of genes. It tells you the what, but it doesn’t tell you the where. And so it’s very important for those researchers that we’ve created this resource. Now they can come in and they can start to get clues about activity. They can start to look at common pathways — other things that they simply haven’t been able to do before.
I’ll just close by saying that the tools are there, and this is truly an unexplored, undiscovered continent. This is the new frontier, if you will. And so for those who are undaunted, but humbled by the complexity of the brain, the future awaits.