With the completion of the human genome project, biological science research enters the genomic era and shows different forms in human DNA. SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) can alter protein function and phenotype, leading to altered pharmacogenomic drug profiles. Recent advances in SNP analysis have provided researchers and drug developers with critical information needed to discover novel drugs. Today, SNPs are becoming significant targets in clinical research and the development of drugs.
A SNP is a mutation with a single DNA base substitution or MAF (minor allele frequency) observed with a frequency in a given population. A nonsynonymous SNP (nsSNP) is a single base change in the coding region of a gene, which results in an AAS (amino acid substitution) in the corresponding protein product. Given that SNPs result in actual changes in primary amino acid sequences, the function of the protein products might be altered, which can lead to drastic changes in drug target phenotypes. SNPs found in the genome provide an efficient way to determine how a patient will respond to certain drugs, as well as how to develop a certain disease, which provides new sights for drug development.
Specific SNPs will be searched and examined quickly by molecular biology techniques as patients respond more favorably to certain therapies or certain SNPs. Interestingly, it has been shown that a set of SNPs can be statistically associated with certain blocks. These single-base differences in SNPs will identify specific targets in drug development and lead to more personalized treatment and diagnosis in clinical.
The continuously expanding knowledge about SNPs found in the genome is developing the foundation for understanding complex disease symptoms. As there is a vast number of SNPs, it might not be feasible for researchers to carry out wet laboratory experiments on every SNP to determine their biological significance. These SNP candidates will be ranked higher in pharmacological importance in the drug discovery process. In the future, physicians will be able to prescribe individualized drugs and responsible for drug conversion or inactivation.