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Sequencing of first frog genome sheds light on treating disease
Date:5/6/2010

ochemical mechanism is extremely difficult to do in a mouse embryo. We can obtain hundreds of these frog embryos that are developing synchronously, and because they are fertilized and develop outside the mother, we can watch and manipulate specific events much more easily and on a much larger scale than in mouse embryos."

Sater and Wells' contributions were in the difficult process of assembly, after they collaborated with scientists from the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine to generate a genetic map. The project is funded by a nearly $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Ultimately, Sater likened sequencing a genome to assembling a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle without having a detailed picture from which to work. The genetic map prepared by Sater and her colleagues provided a big part of that picture to guide long-range assembly of the puzzle.

Once the UH and Baylor team's portion was complete, they compared the short sequences used as landmarks in their genetic map with the genome sequences. These comparisons allowed their colleagues at University of California, Berkeley, to complete the assembly of the genome.

"Sequencing and assembling a genome is basically science infrastructure the equivalent of building roads and bridges and once the infrastructure is in place, everyone can benefit," Sater said. "This work is an enormous contribution to research now in progress throughout the world, and essentially every study that uses Xenopus as a research animal gets a big boost from this project."

Big science like this, Sater said, has a lot of authors and provides fundamental, important information for all biologists in trying to understand how specific genes function. Important contributions also came from individuals at the Joint Genome Institute, Cambridge, University of California Irvine, Washington University School of Medicine, University of Virginia, the National
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Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

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