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Study of complete RNA collection of fruit fly uncovers unprecedented complexity
Date:3/18/2014

U Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Biology and the university's Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics. They are included among the 41 co-authors from 11 universities and institutes that are members of the National Human Genome Research Institute's Model Organism Encyclopedia of DNA Elements project, or modENCODE. Among the IU co-authors are Professor Emeritus of Biology Peter Cherbas, who helped manage the expansive project, and Distinguished Professor of Biology Thom Kaufman, who helped oversee design of the project and the production of biological samples.

"The modENCODE work is intended to provide a new baseline for research using Drosophila," Cherbas said. "The goal is to provide researchers working on particular processes with much of the detailed background information they would otherwise need to collect for themselves.

"As usual in science, we've answered a number of questions and raised even more. For example, we identified 1,468 new genes, of which 536 were found to reside in previously uncharacterized gene-free zones."

"We think these results could influence gene regulation research in all animals," Kaufman said. "This exhaustive study also identified a number of phenomena previously reported only in mammals, and that alone is really telling about the versatility of Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. The new work provides a number of new potential uses for this powerful model system."

An example they pointed to was the perturbation experiments that identified new genes and transcripts. New genes were identified in experiments where adults were challenged with heat shock, cold shock, exposure to heavy metals, the drug caffeine and the herbicide paraquat, while larvae were treated with heavy metals, caffeine, ethanol or the insecticide rotenone.

Those environmental stresses resulted in small changes in expression level at thousands of genes; and in one treatment, four newly modeled g
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Contact: Steve Chaplin
stjchap@iu.edu
812-856-1896
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert  

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