CRG: Worms, flies and humans... our common genomic legacy, key to understanding cell biology

CRG: Worms, flies and humans... our common genomic legacy, key to understanding cell biology

News from CRG

Genomes accumulate changes and mutations throughout evolution. These changes have resulted in a huge diversity of species and in different traits between us. But animal cells, whether they are from a fly or a human, work similarly: they have common molecular mechanisms.

Based on this premise, an international consortium with participation of scientists from the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona have compared the transcriptome (the RNA complement of a species’ cell) of different animal species. They used data from two big research consortia: the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), which gathers information about human functional elements, and the Model Organism ENCODE (mod-ENCODE) which has the corresponding information about the fly and the worm. As a result, they have determined sets of genes that are likely to work together, independently of the organism in which they are found, and must therefore be essential for the whole animal kingdom.

“This paper is important since it is the first time such distant species have been compared in such an accurate manner”, explains Sarah Djebali, co-author of this paper and researcher at the CRG. The international team of collaborators performed and uniformly processed 575 RNA-seq experiments in many different tissues and in several developmental and perturbation conditions. “These findings give us a map of highly important regions of the genome that will guide the scientific community in future research projects related to cell biology and, in extension, to disease”, adds Dr. Djebali.

More information:
CRG news

Gerstein, M.B. et al. Comparative Analysis of the Transcriptome across Distant Species. Nature (August 28 2014) DOI: 10.1038/nature13424