Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_89625

Chromosomes 2 and 4 completed

11 April 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 303

US researchers have unveiled the 'gold-standard' versions of the DNA sequence of human chromosomes two and four. Together, these two bundles of genetic material make up five per cent of the entire human genome. The analysis of chromosome four has revealed the largest 'gene deserts' identified so far - vast stretches of DNA that do not contain any protein-coding genes. The international team of scientists, based at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, published its results in the journal Nature.

An international consortium unveiled the final version of the entire human genome on 14 April 2003. They found that it is made up of 2.9 billion base-pairs of DNA, and contains an estimated 25-30,000 different genes. Researchers have since been looking at each of its 24 different chromosomes in detail (numbers 1-22 plus the X and Y sex chromosomes), to identify the 'coding' stretches of DNA that make up these genes. They have also been filling gaps - stretches of DNA sequence that could not easily be determined - and double-checking for any errors. Detailed analyses of chromosomes 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, X and Y have already been published, with the remaining eight due shortly.

Chromosome four, which is home to the genes involved in Huntington's disease and polycystic kidney disease, contains a total of 796 genes. But the chromosome also contains large stretches of DNA that do not contain any genes. The researchers say these gene deserts probably still have some important biological function, since they have been conserved throughout evolution since humans shared a common ancestor with birds. Chromosome two, the second largest human chromosome, contains 1,346 genes. The new study confirms that it arose when two chromosomes in an ape ancestor fused together. Interestingly, the researchers also identified a gene on chromosome two that makes a protein that is possibly unique to humans and chimpanzees.

Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), called the analysis 'an impressive achievement', which will 'deepen our understanding of the human genome and speed the discovery of genes related to human health and disease'. He also said the findings would provide 'exciting new insights into the structure and evolution of mammalian genomes'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Scientists analyze chromosomes 2 and 4
Medical News Today |  9 April 2005
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
17 September 2004 - by BioNews 
US researchers have unveiled a complete 'gold-standard' version of the DNA sequence of human chromosome five. Consisting of 181 million base-pairs (chemical 'letters') of DNA, chromosome five is the largest human chromosome analysed in detail to date. However, despite its size it contains relatively few genes - just 923 - compared to...
5 April 2004 - by BioNews 
Scientists have published the complete DNA sequences of chromosomes 19 and 13, bringing the total number of fully decoded human chromosomes to nine. A team lead by researchers at the Stanford Human Genome Center in Paolo Alto, US, carried out the chromosome 19 project, while scientists at the Wellcome Trust...
23 October 2003 - by BioNews 
UK scientists have finished an in-depth study of chromosome six, the seventh human chromosome to be analysed in detail. The team, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, say the chromosome is made up of nearly 167 million base-pairs - chemical 'letters' of DNA - which means that it accounts for...
14 July 2003 - by BioNews 
US and German scientists have published the entire genetic code of chromosome seven, the largest human chromosome to be fully sequenced so far. It is made up of 153 million letters of DNA code (base-pairs), and contains at least 1,150 genes that specify proteins. The researchers say that they include...
20 June 2003 - by BioNews 
Scientists have unveiled a detailed analysis of the human Y chromosome, the genetic material that contains the 'male' switch. When flipped on, this switch (a gene called SRY) makes an early embryo develop into a baby boy. For many years, this was thought to be the Y chromosome's one important...
HAVE YOUR SAY
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.