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With first comparative look at human and mouse DNA, joint genome institute team confirms gene estimate

LIVERMORE - Earlier this year, researchers mapping the human genome estimated that human DNA contains about 30,000 genes. Now, based on the first-ever look at comparable sections of human and mouse DNA, a team of Walnut Creek-based Joint Genome Institute (JGI) scientists has confirmed that estimate as roughly accurate.

The team, led by biomedical scientist Lisa Stubbs of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, details its findings based on comparing human chromosome 19 with similar sections of mouse DNA in Friday's edition of the journal Science. In addition to Stubbs, the study's analysis was performed by Paramvir Dehal, a UC Davis graduate student, Livermore computer scientist Art Kobayashi and a team of JGI computer scientists and biologists.

The sequencing of the mouse DNA, which was done between April and October of last year, was led by former Joint Genome Institute Director Elbert Branscomb, current JGI Director Trevor Hawkins and sequencing director Paul Predki.

"There had been speculation that aligning the human and mouse DNA sequence might reveal many more genes," Stubbs said. "However, if chromosome 19 is indicative of other chromosomes, the estimate of 30,000 genes is fairly accurate."

Before the comparison of human and mouse DNA, researchers had thought that human chromosome 19 had about 1,100 genes. With the comparative analysis, about 1,200 were found, Stubbs said.

"We've wanted to compare human and mouse DNA to help us find human genes and to figure out how they function," she said. "Another reason is that researchers use mouse models for studying diseases and testing medicines, and to do this properly, it's important to understand the differences and similarities between the two species."

Through their study, the Joint Genome Institute team found apparent additional sections of more than 300 human genes, confirmed the existence of other computer-predicted g
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Contact: Steve Wampler
wampler1@llnl.gov
925-423-3107
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
5-Jul-2001


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