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Sequence of human chromosome 7 is fine-tuned and finished

St. Louis, July 10, 2003 -- Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, in collaboration with investigators at five other centers, have finished sequencing human chromosome 7. The findings are published in the July 10 issue of the journal Nature.

Chromosome 7 is the largest human chromosome to be sequenced so far. The analysis revealed that the chromosome has about 1,150 genes and 940 so-called pseudogenes, stretches of DNA that closely resemble genes but contain some genetic change that prevents them from functioning like a gene. The biological significance of pseudogenes is unknown.

"This work completes another volume in the genome encyclopedia at a high standard of quality and a high degree of continuity," says principal investigator Richard K. Wilson, Ph.D., director of Washington University's Genome Sequencing Center and professor of genetics and of molecular microbiology. "The sequence for chromosome 7 will be very useful for follow-up studies that have a medical application."

The work may benefit research in cystic fibrosis, deafness, B-cell lymphoma and other cancers, genes for which are found on chromosome 7. Also found there is the gene for P-glycoprotein, a protein that enables cancer cells to resist anticancer drugs. Other important genes found on chromosome 7 include those that help control cell division and cell death, genes for taste and smell receptors and those involved in immune responses.

Chromosome 7 also has a relatively centrally located centromere, a small region found on all chromosomes that is important during cell division. Centromeres on other chromosomes sequenced so far are located near the tip of the chromosome, like a knob. The centromere on chromosome 7 divides the chromosome into a short arm and a long arm, both of which carry many genes. Sequencing proceeded from each end toward the centromere.

The centromere itself contains many short repetitive DNA sequences
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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
wardd@msnotes.wustl.edu
314-286-0122
Washington University School of Medicine
9-Jul-2003


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