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UC Santa Cruz Genome Browser posts complete genome for Wuhan coronavirus

wuhan coronavirus ucsc genome
UC Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION and CBSSF) Researchers at UC Santa Cruz's Baskin School of Engineering have released the complete genome of the Wuhan coronavirus.

The School of Engineering posted the news on Twitter, saying it will help other scientists see the structure of the virus and develop new ways to attack it.

Samples of the virus have been processed in labs around the world, and the information about its genetic code was sent to the National Institute of Health's National Center for Bioinformatics. There, new viruses are assigned a name and number so everybody can refer to the exact specimen. Once the genomic information is processed, it becomes available in a database.

Researchers at UCSC used the Genome Browser to process the information into a visual display. They retrieved the information that included nearly 30,000 nucleotides, the base pairs that make up DNA and RNA molecules, and put in a database where the Genome Browser, an interactive web-based "microscope," can get the material and display it in a more useful format in a web browser.

“What makes the Genome Browser so valuable is that it is so visual,” said UCSC Genome Browser Engineer Hiram Clawson. “It makes it very clear where everything is, so when people make interesting measurements about the genome in the virus, they can see what they’re looking at."

At that point, researchers can zoom in and out to see the base pairs at the most detailed level or 10 individual genes made up of the nearly 30,000 base pairs.

This is not the first time the complete genome of the coronavirus has been posted, but it is arguably the best known genome browser in the world and the most user-friendly, Clawson told the CBS affiliate in San Francisco. The Browser also allows annotation, so researchers around the world can collaborate and share experimental information.

The Wuhan coronavirus is part of the coronavirus family that is a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have previously caused outbreaks, according to KPIX. As of Friday afternoon, there were more than 31,000 confirmed cases worldwide and 638 deaths.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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