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Gene expression in mouse neural retina sequenced
Date:12/7/2011

sease, the disease genes were disproportionately highly expressed to a statistically significant degree. Six disease genes were among the 20 most highly expressed genes, including a sweep of the top three. Disease genes also had much longer sequences on average (4,333.4 bases on average, vs. 3,323 for non-disease genes). Disease genes were somewhat, but significantly, more likely to have alternate transcripts than non-disease genes. This means that there were more different versions in RNA produced from the information encoded in DNA. Neurons in the retina expressed less than a third of the available genes for their synaptic vesicles, which are essential components for how nerve cells transmit signals.

To Morrow, whose studies include the genetics of autism, the next steps have involved sequencing the transcriptomes of other neural tissues to see whether his observations from the retina are more generally true. For example, are disease-related genes unusually highly expressed elsewhere, too? And do specific neural tissues use a "synaptic vesicle" code, like the retina appears to have, or is this more specific just to retina as well?

Morrow said he's been sharing his raw transciptome data publicly so that other scientists can ask their own questions.

"When we go to meetings, people ask us about their particular genes in their particular networks," he said.

Sequencing sensation

Morrow has all but switched methods of genetic analysis. Before sequencing, scientists would use microarrays, which can be stocked with complementary strands of DNA or RNA to detect thousands of genes if they are present in a sample. But for a cost that's tens of thousands of dollars and dropping, Morrow said, sequencing allows him to see everything in the cell and learn about the entire picture, whether genes were well-known enough to be on a gene chip or not.

"You don't need to be sitting on a genome center to do this
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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