Genomics, the study of all the genetic sequences in living organisms, has leaned heavily on the blueprint metaphor. A large part of the blueprint, unfortunately, has been unintelligible, with no good way to distinguish a bathroom from a boardroom, to link genomic features to cell function.
A national consortium of scientists led by BIATECH, a Seattle-area non-profit research center, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a Department of Energy research institution in Richland, Wash., now suggests a way to put this house in order. They offer a powerful new method that integrates experimental and computational analyses to ascribe function to genes that had been termed "hypothetical" – sequences that appear in the genome but whose biological purposes were previously unknown.
The method not only portends a way to fill in the blanks in any organisms genome but also to compare the genomes of different organisms and their evolutionary relation to one another.
Bill Cannon | EurekAlert!
Decoding the genome's cryptic language
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