9th Annual Workshop, October 28-31, 1999
Co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy
Experimental approach towards identification of small non-messenger RNAs in the genome of Caenorhabditis elegans
Anja op de Bekke1, Alexander Huttenhofer1, Martin Kiefmann1, John O'Brien2, Hans Lehrach2 and Jurgen Brosius1
1Institute of Experimental Pathology/Molecular Neurobiology, ZMBE,
University of Munster, Munster, Germany
2Resource Centre, Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany
Genome projects allow identification of complete sets of genes in a given organism. This is a prerequisite for completely understanding its biology including gene expression, function of its products and evolutionary relationships. Current approaches primarily focus on protein coding genes. Those expressing transcripts that contain short (< 300 nt) open reading frames (ORFs) or non-messenger RNAs are currently difficult to identify with biocomputational methods only. Non-messenger RNAs play a wide range of roles in the cell. It is expected that eukaryotic cells contain a significant number of unknown non-messenger RNAs with interesting functions. In the recently completed sequence of the C. elegans genome only genes encoding ribosomal RNAs, tRNAs, five small nuclear RNA, two snoRNAs, 7SL RNA, SL1 and SL2 splice leader RNA, Y RNA and lin-4 RNA were annotated. Many RNA species that are expected to be present in the C. elegans genome were not detected. Therefore, we took an experimental approach akin to the EST projects in order to identify the majority of expressed RNA sequences (ERNs) transcribed from the genome of C. elegans.