Genetics

Finding Bigfoot

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Science  22 Jun 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5832, pp. 1671
DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5832.1671b

The presence of conserved noncoding regions in genomes is a footprint that points to the likely existence of conserved modes of gene regulation. In plants, there appear to be fewer conserved noncoding sequences than in animals; because they are shorter, they are harder to find. Freeling et al. examined the genome of Arabidopsis, which underwent a duplication of its genome (the α event) in its recent history, in order to identify noncoding sequences that border genes and that have been retained. Large regions, relatively rich in conserved noncoding sequences (such as the G-box CACGTG), were designated Bigfoot and were often associated with transcription factor binding motifs. Smaller regions of noncoding sequences were also identified (and dubbed Smallfoot) and were often linked to components of signal transduction pathways. Few of these noncoding sequences were identified outside of paralogous genes, suggesting that the regulatory regions of other genes are less conserved or may evolve at a rapid rate. — LMZ

Plant Cell 19, 10.1105/tpc.107.050419 (2007).

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