Sequencing method yields fuller picture

Jul 17, 2007

University of Southern California biologists have developed a method for sequencing both chromosomes of an organism.

Their study appears in a recent issue of Genome Research.

The statistical method is significant because when researchers announce they have sequenced an organism’s genome, they really mean that they have created a mosaic of two chromosomes, said USC computational biologist Lei Li.

“A mosaic means it’s not real,” Li said.

Lead author and former graduate student Jong Hyun Kim, advised by Li and USC University Professor Michael Waterman, was able to infer a complete sequence of the chromosomes of Ciona intestinalis, a marine invertebrate, from existing sequencing data.

Kim’s method exploited the high rate of genetic mutations in the organism. Other organisms with high genetic variability, such as certain fish, also may be suitable.

Because the human genome has a relatively low mutation rate, the method cannot be applied to people.

However, Kim said, the method might be useful in sequencing parts of the human genome that display high variability.

As a by-product of their analysis, the researchers added to growing evidence that so-called junk DNA may have a function after all.

Recent studies have shown that junk DNA expresses proteins which may regulate gene function, and that sections of junk DNA have been highly conserved during evolution, suggesting that they play an important role.

The Genome Research study confirms that many short sections of junk DNA are highly conserved, Li and Kim said.

Source: University of Southern California

Explore further: Diabetes drug found in freshwater is a potential cause of intersex fish

Related Stories

Deciphering the demise of Neandertals

Apr 24, 2015

Researchers from the University of Bologna, Italy, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, analysed two deciduous teeth from the prehistoric sites of Grotta di Fumane ...

Recommended for you

York's anti-malarial plant given Chinese approval

Apr 24, 2015

A new hybrid plant used in anti-malarial drug production, developed by scientists at the University of York's Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), is now registered as a new variety in China.

The appeal of being anti-GMO

Apr 24, 2015

A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions ...

Micro fingers for arranging single cells

Apr 24, 2015

Functional analysis of a cell, which is the fundamental unit of life, is important for gaining new insights into medical and pharmaceutical fields. For efficiently studying cell functions, it is essential ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.