In the January issue of the journal Genome Research, two teams of scientists describe a widespread phenomenon in the human genome called transcription-induced chimerism (TIC), where two adjacent genes produce a single, fused RNA transcript. The work has implications for drug development, as well as for understanding mechanisms underlying gene evolution, transcription regulation, and genomic organization.
Dr. Roderic Guigós group from the Centre de Regulació Genòmica (Barcelona, Spain), in collaboration with the group of Dr. Stylianos Antonarakis from the University of Geneva (Switzerland), and Dr. Rotem Soreks team from Compugen (Tel Aviv, Israel) independently derived estimates that at least 2-5% of the genes in the human genome are involved in these events.
"In a certain way, this phenomenon challenges our very concept of a gene," points out Guigó. "The one gene, one protein rule has been fundamental to molecular biology. However, as we deepen our understanding of the eukaryotic genome, a picture emerges that challenges this paradigm – not a picture in which the sequences in the genome have distinct functions, but rather one in which the sequences participate in multiple transcripts, encoding molecules with diverse functionality."
Maria Smit | EurekAlert!
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