New developments in mouse genome biology

From fertilized egg to newborn, thousands of genes twinkle on and off in the delicate dance of creation. But the genes directing development are difficult to study because of the short time they are active. In a direct approach to this problem, Minoru Ko (NIH) and colleagues present the sequence of a large segment of the mysterious mouse t-complex, a genome region packed with genes involved in embryonic development.

The mouse t-complex has long attracted interest because mutations thoughout this region cause lethal developmental defects. Ko and colleagues determined the sequence of a large portion of the complex and examined it for genes. As reported in the July issue of Genome Research, the sequenced region is exceptionally rich, containing 11 nearly overlapping genes, six of them previously undiscovered. Most of these genes appear to be active in early embryonic development, suggesting that entire regions of the t-complex may turn on and off together as part of the choreography of development. With increasing evidence that humans have a corresponding region on chromosome 16, this discovery provides a treasure trove of genes for developmental science.


Contact: Peggy Calicchia
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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