Saturday, December 25, 2010

You are what your father ate?!?

I have been lax at reporting papers coming out, but decided we need to change that. So here is a new type of post - talking about new publication.

This is culmination of a wild roller coaster ride over the last few years and months. The project has been one of Ollie's (Rando, OJ, that is) for quite few years and we were brought on to help.

For some reason Cell put a press release with the title "You are what your father ate" which seems a bit of an over statement. But it definitely managed to get the press interested. So far there is press coverage by the Time, and various other interesting venues, such as Pravda.

The basic story, is that Ollie and later his students have been feeding mice either control diet or one that is low on protein and high on suger. These mice where then mated with females and then removed from their cage. Ollie then examined gene expression in the offspring livers and found that they were different depending on the father. In particular, lipid metabolism in these mice was different.  

(source: Cell)

Our involvement was in trying to help Ollie make sense of the data. As usual he found the cool stuff by himself but needed reaffirmation from computational people :-) Naomi (Habib, N, that is) analyzed the expression data to make sure that the results made sense. She also compared the list of genes that changed in the offsprings to many relevant datasets in the literature and found connections that helped understand the nature of these changes. She also analyzed other datasets, including small RNAs in these livers, and gene expression in sperms from fathers of the two different groups. 

All by all, this project was one of the main things Naomi did over the last few years. It is great to have it come out, and in particular in such a prestigious venue.

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