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Scientists reveal how biological activity is regulated in fruit fly and roundworm genomes
Date:12/22/2010

Scientists today published catalogs of the fruit fly and roundworm's functional genomic elements: DNA sequences in the genome that carry the instructions and determine which genes are turned on and off at various times in different cells.

Initially sequenced as part of the Human Genome Project, the genomes of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and the roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans, are powerful models for understanding human biology and disease, as many functional genomic elements have been conserved across the vast evolutionary distances separating each organism. Scientists can now study functional genomic elements in the fruit fly and roundworm that are also present in humans to better understand how the human genome works in health and disease.

"These findings will enable scientists everywhere to carry out experiments in fruit flies and roundworms to better understand the relationship between molecular and biological activities in these animals," said NHGRI Director Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D. "What we learn from these model organisms will contribute greatly to our understanding about the genomic basis of health and disease in humans."

The papers reporting these new findings will appear in the Dec. 24 issue of Science and are authored by members of the model organism ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements (modENCODE) Consortium, which is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition, more than a dozen companion modENCODE papers will be published online in the journals Nature, Genome Research and Genome Biology.

The fruit fly and roundworm modENCODE projects were launched in 2007 to complement the work being done by the ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements Consortium (ENCODE) Project, which is building a comprehensive catalog of functional genomic elements in the human genome. In 2007, ENCODE completed a pi
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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