Does the proportion of non-protein-coding DNA scale with gene density, or are the two unrelated? With the completed map of human chromosome 18 - which has a particularly low density of genes - researchers have had a chance to address this question.
In the 22 September 2005 issue of Nature (Vol. 437, No. 7058, pp 551-555), Chad Nusbaum and his colleagues present the sequence of this chromosome and a new analysis. They conducted a genome-wide comparison of human and other mammalian DNA, and found similarities in the levels of non-protein-coding regions among mammals. According to their work, the prevalence of these regions is uncorrelated with gene density. The study suggests that there is more to non-coding DNA than meets the eye, especially when it seems to be evolutionarily conserved across a number of mammalian genomes.
Chad Nusbaum (Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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