Hear Manuel Ferreira, Ph.D., share how looking at data at a larger scale aided in the discovery of GPR75

Speaker 1

When we start a study like the one we carried out, it's all unknown in terms of where we are going to be in a year's time. We don't know. We know what we're searching for. We don't know if and when we're going to find it, and so the analogy that I can think of is as an explorer about to embark on a new expedition.

There's a mission. There's something to be found. It's just a matter of if and when that's going to happen. We knew that we could put the right team together and we had the right technology to try to embark on that expedition, but we didn't know is it going to succeed or not. The chances of success are always lower if you concentrate on just a handful of diseases. If you want to ensure that the team and these experiments are successful, the better strategy is really to concentrate on many different diseases. What's different about this expedition is that we had to leave behind traditional way of looking at genetic data. Instead, we looked at genetic data at a resolution and at a scale that had never been done before. It's the difference between setting course to a group of known islands where you pretty much know what you're going to find as opposed to what we did, which is to set course into uncharted seas where the goal is find potentially new islands that have never been discovered. And so that's what we found. When we find a gene like GPR75 that has these rare variants that are really strongly protective against obesity, it vindicates the expedition.

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