Speaker: Dr. Ben Bowen, Lynx Therapeutics, Inc., Hayward, CA 94545
Place: UNIV 101; Tuesday, 4:30pm

Abstract Complex traits include the majority of human diseases and commercially important targets of selection in agriculture, such as yield or hybrid vigor. Unlike monogenic traits, they are controlled or influenced by the interplay of multiple genes and environment factors. Although it is not clear to what extent complex traits are controlled by alleles that qualitatively affect the function of proteins or quantitatively affect gene expression, both types of genetic variation are likely to be important. Lynxs Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing (MPSSTM) technology is a gene expression profiling system that can help understand the genetic architecture of complex traits at the molecular level by addressing two fundamental questions in quantitative genetics:

1. How much variation in gene expression between individuals is controlled by cis-acting alleles vs. segregation of transacting factors?

2. How many genes that differ in expression between parents and offspring behave non-additively?

I will demonstrate how an understanding of these two questions can be exploited to help identify candidate genes for quantitative trait loci controlling a complex trait in a model plant species on the one hand and candidate genes for heterosis in a poorly characterized animal species on the other.

In addition, I will cover some of the experimental approaches we use at Lynx for target gene discovery in two therapeutic areas : breast cancer and atherosclerosis.