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The mystery of extreme non-coding conservation.

Harmston, Nathan, Barešić, Anja and Lenhard, Boris 2013. The mystery of extreme non-coding conservation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 368 (1632) , 20130021. 10.1098/rstb.2013.0021

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Regions of several dozen to several hundred base pairs of extreme conservation have been found in non-coding regions in all metazoan genomes. The distribution of these elements within and across genomes has suggested that many have roles as transcriptional regulatory elements in multi-cellular organization, differentiation and development. Currently, there is no known mechanism or function that would account for this level of conservation at the observed evolutionary distances. Previous studies have found that, while these regions are under strong purifying selection, and not mutational coldspots, deletion of entire regions in mice does not necessarily lead to identifiable changes in phenotype during development. These opposing findings lead to several questions regarding their functional importance and why they are under strong selection in the first place. In this perspective, we discuss the methods and techniques used in identifying and dissecting these regions, their observed patterns of conservation, and review the current hypotheses on their functional significance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: The Royal Society
ISSN: 0962-8436
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2023 11:15

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