Beyond the Identification of Transcribed Sequences: Functional and Expression Analysis

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. 

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