A team of researchers from the University of Queensland Research has shown that human blood can be used to understand the secrets of the brain. The discovery states that our blood samples can go a long way in identifying gene targets to identify traits of the brain, very similar to intelligence quotient (IQ) as well as some of the brain diseases including schizophrenia.
The group of professors have notified that their discovery can pave way to new avenues for researching and improving the abilities of scientists to uncover insights into something as complex as human brain. With information pertaining to gene targets within the brain, therapies can be developed as well as prevention strategies can be formulated. However, Professor Jian Yang asserts that only minute effects of specific genes can be identified as they are very small, and consequently, large samples are required. Currently, they have managed to compile only a few hundred brain sample in their database.
The researchers have managed to justify the usage of genetic effects on gene expressions, utilizing blood samples as proxies for the brain in order to boost their power to detect underlying brain disorders. Out of the data so far collected, 97 of them are connected with IQ, cigarette smoking, and schizophrenia.
In 2017, Professor Jian Yang was awarded with the Frank Fenner Prize and in 2018, he has achieve further discoveries, including the usage of genetic data in order to detect modifiable disease by identifying the specific genes and epigenetic factors.