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UC San Diego bioinformatics experts help reconstruct the genomic makeup of our ancestors

San Diego, CA, March 31, 2004 -- Scientists have generated and begun to analyze the rat genome, paving the way for comparisons with the two other mammalian genomes sequenced so far -- human, and mouse. The primary results of the Rat Genome Sequencing Project Consortium (RGSPC) are presented in the April 1 issue of Nature, and an additional thirty manuscripts describing further detailed analyses are contained in the April issue of the journal Genome Research.

The cover image of Genome Research (see end of release) was produced by University of California, San Diego professors Pavel Pevzner and Glenn Tesler and their co-author on the journal paper, Guillaume Bourque of the University of Montreal. It depicts the course of evolution for the X chromosome in humans, rats and mice from a common ancestor over 80 million years ago and, for the first time, reconstructs the genomic architecture of mammalian ancestors. "It contributes to the solution of the so-called original synteny problem in biology," said Pevzner, the Ronald R. Taylor Professor of Computer Science at UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering. "While scientists routinely find bones that lead to often unrealistic reconstructions of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on movie screens and in toy stores, this is the first rigorous reconstruction of the genomic makeup of our mammalian ancestors."

Pevzner and Tesler are among the more than 200 co-authors of the Nature article, and expanded on their part of the research in a Genome Research paper with Bourque titled "Reconstructing the Genomic Architecture of Ancestral Mammals: Lessons from Human, Mouse and Rat Genomes." "Having the third genome allows us to reconstruct the putative genomic architecture of our mammalian ancestor," said Pevzner. "Our contribution has been to demonstrate how to look at the human, mouse and rat genomes -- each roughly three billion letters in length -- and then infer the evolutionary earthquakes that shaped their genomi
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Contact: Doug Ramsey
dramsey@ucsd.edu
858-822-5825
University of California - San Diego
1-Apr-2004


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