Journal Article

Identification and Characterization of Lineage-Specific Highly Conserved Noncoding Sequences in Mammalian Genomes

Mahoko Takahashi and Naruya Saitou

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 4, issue 5, pages 641-657
Published in print January 2012 |
Published online April 2012 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI:

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  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
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Vertebrate genome comparisons revealed that there are highly conserved noncoding sequences (HCNSs) among a wide range of species and many of which contain regulatory elements. However, recently emerged sequences conserved in specific lineages have not been well studied. Toward this end, we identified 8,198 primate and 21,128 specific HCNSs as representative ones among mammals from human–marmoset and mouse–rat comparisons, respectively. Derived allele frequency analysis of primate-specific HCNSs showed that these HCNSs were under purifying selection, indicating that they may harbor important functions. We selected the top 1,000 largest HCNSs and compared the lineage-specific HCNS-flanking genes (LHF genes) with ultraconserved element (UCE)-flanking genes. Interestingly, the majority of LHF genes were different from UCE-flanking genes. This lineage-specific set of LHF genes was more enriched in protein-binding function. Conversely, the number of LHF genes that were also shared by UCEs was small but significantly larger than random expectation, and many of these genes were involved in anatomical development as transcriptional regulators, suggesting that certain groups of genes preferentially recruit new HCNSs in addition to old HCNSs that are conserved among vertebrates. This group of LHF genes might be involved in the various levels of lineage-specific evolution among vertebrates, mammals, primates, and rodents. If so, the emergence of HCNSs in and around these two groups of LHF genes developed lineage-specific characteristics. Our results provide new insight into lineage-specific evolution through interactions between HCNSs and their LHF genes.

Keywords: lineage-specific evolution; conserved noncoding sequence; mammals

Journal Article.  8917 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; Genetics and Genomics

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