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Advances in technology boost efforts to map DNA


Narrator:            This is Science Today. It's been a decade since the decoding of the human genome and since that time, advances in computer power and tools have boosted efforts to delve even deeper into mapping DNA. Katie Pollard of the University of California, San Francisco, was one of the first scientists to begin comparing human and chimp DNA side by side. 

Pollard:            Advances in computer processors, memory, other aspects of network — none of those things in their previous forms would have allowed this kind of research. We really need the fast, powerful computers that we have now.

Narrator:            Pollard has created software programs that are mathematical algorithms, which can tease out information from DNA and allows Pollard and her colleagues to probe places in the genetic code where base pairs differ between humans and chimps.

Pollard:            Essentially, you can think of these computer algorithms as implementing, in computer code, the deduction that someone would do in any kind of an experimental setting looking at a control and looking at your data, trying to see if your data's particularly unusual given what you might have expected.

Narrator:            For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.