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New Study from Affymetrix Laboratories Points to Changing View of How Genome Works

Scientists at Affymetrix, Inc. (Nasdaq: AFFX) reported today in Science magazine online that they have completed a high-resolution scan of structure and function for nearly 30 percent of the human genome sequence. In collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, the research team used high-density GeneChip(R) microarrays to study every fifth base, on average, of 10 human chromosomes; they found that thousands of regions of the genome are transcribed into overlapping RNA sequences and those sequences are separated by regions in which RNA is transcribed more scarcely. All of the data is freely available.

"The findings of this study compel us to reconsider how the genome is organized and regulated," said Thomas Gingeras, Vice President for Biological Research at Affymetrix and senior author of the Science manuscript. "These data point us toward two critical and exciting questions: What are the functions of these previously unannotated transcripts and what are the regulation schemes that orchestrate such complex assemblies of transcription? It seems certain that this is not the genome we learned about while in school."

In the "traditional" view of the human genome, there are about 26,000 genes used to make proteins that ultimately control the structure and function of every cell in the body. Most disease research has focused on studying these protein-coding genes, even though they make up only about two percent of the human genome sequence.

The new study by Gingeras' team did not make any assumption of what parts of the genome might or might not be important to human biology. They used new Affymetrix tiling microarrays and unique biochemical tests to scan the sequence of 10 human chromosomes -- one third of the human genome sequence -- and found that roughly 15 percent of the DNA sequence analyzed was tran
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Source:Affymetrix


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