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Family ties: Relationship between human and zebrafish genomes
Date:4/17/2013

n this project and will spur biological research for years to come.

"By modeling these human disease genes in zebrafish, we hope that resources worldwide will produce important biological information regarding the function of these genes and possibly find new targets for drug development."

The zebrafish genome has some unique features, not seen in other vertebrates. They have the highest repeat content in their genome sequences so far reported in any vertebrate species: almost twice as much as seen in their closest relative, the common carp. Also unique to the zebrafish, the team identified chromosomal regions that influence sex determination.

The zebrafish genome contains few pseudogenes - genes thought to have lost their function through evolution - compared to the human genome. The team identified 154 pseudogenes in the zebrafish genome, a fraction of the 13,000 or so pseudogenes found in the human genome.

"To realize the benefits the zebrafish can make to human health, we need to understand the genome in its entirety both the similarities to the human genome and the differences," says Professor Christiane Nsslein-Volhard, author and Nobel laureate from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. "Armed with the zebrafish genome, we can now better understand how changes to our genomes result in disease."

"This genome will help to uncover the biological processes responsible for common and rare disease and opens up exciting new avenues for disease screening and drug development," adds Dr Stemple.


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Contact: Aileen Sheehy
press.office@sanger.ac.uk
44-012-234-96928
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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