A sealed card is at the heart of Japan's bid to unmask the genetics behind various diseases including arthritis and asthma. The Japanese Institute of Physical and Chemical Research plans to push Japan to the forefront of the global effort to interpret the human genome. The facility will use its own sealed-card technology to map single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), the single-base variations that are scattered throughout the genome. SNPs are thought to be behind most genetic variations -- from eye colour to disease susceptibility. RIKEN's technology allows researchers to read up to 384,000 DNA samples per day, using small blood samples (Nature , Vol 410, No 1013).
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