The ability to combine the functional data about the fruit fly and roundworm genomes allowed the researchers to construct predictive models that connect regulatory elements with gene-expression changes across specific life stages. The researchers were able to use these combined data to predict the function and expression of thousands of genes.
"The integration of data, from the transcriptome to chromatin to non-coding RNAs and DNA replication, combined into networks vastly increases the information about the genome available to researchers and provides a foundation for in-depth functional studies," said co-author of the fruit fly paper, Gary Karpen, Ph.D., director, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif.
"The results of modENCODE allow scientists to begin reading the genome sequences, moving from a list of letters to delineating words and punctuation marks," said Elise Feingold, Ph.D., an NHGRI program director overseeing the ENCODE and modENCODE projects.
"Making this effort a success required a high level of coordination and teamwork amongst the groups that enabled the synthesis and high-level view of the data presented in these publications," added Peter Good, Ph.D., who is also a program director for the ENCODE and modENCODE projects.
Over the next year, modENCODE researchers will work to identify additional functional genomic elements to expand the respective catalogs. Moreover, by combining and comparing data from worms, flies and humans, scientists hope to learn far more about the functional elements and regulatory principles in each genome, and gain new insights into human health and disease.
|Contact: Geoff Spencer|
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute