Publications by authors named "Karen McLaren"

3 Publications

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The zebrafish reference genome sequence and its relationship to the human genome.

Nature 2013 Apr 17;496(7446):498-503. Epub 2013 Apr 17.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.

Zebrafish have become a popular organism for the study of vertebrate gene function. The virtually transparent embryos of this species, and the ability to accelerate genetic studies by gene knockdown or overexpression, have led to the widespread use of zebrafish in the detailed investigation of vertebrate gene function and increasingly, the study of human genetic disease. However, for effective modelling of human genetic disease it is important to understand the extent to which zebrafish genes and gene structures are related to orthologous human genes. To examine this, we generated a high-quality sequence assembly of the zebrafish genome, made up of an overlapping set of completely sequenced large-insert clones that were ordered and oriented using a high-resolution high-density meiotic map. Detailed automatic and manual annotation provides evidence of more than 26,000 protein-coding genes, the largest gene set of any vertebrate so far sequenced. Comparison to the human reference genome shows that approximately 70% of human genes have at least one obvious zebrafish orthologue. In addition, the high quality of this genome assembly provides a clearer understanding of key genomic features such as a unique repeat content, a scarcity of pseudogenes, an enrichment of zebrafish-specific genes on chromosome 4 and chromosomal regions that influence sex determination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703927PMC
April 2013

Dynamic instability of the major urinary protein gene family revealed by genomic and phenotypic comparisons between C57 and 129 strain mice.

Genome Biol 2008 28;9(5):R91. Epub 2008 May 28.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB101SA, UK.

Background: The major urinary proteins (MUPs) of Mus musculus domesticus are deposited in urine in large quantities, where they bind and release pheromones and also provide an individual 'recognition signal' via their phenotypic polymorphism. Whilst important information about MUP functionality has been gained in recent years, the gene cluster is poorly studied in terms of structure, genic polymorphism and evolution.

Results: We combine targeted sequencing, manual genome annotation and phylogenetic analysis to compare the Mup clusters of C57BL/6J and 129 strains of mice. We describe organizational heterogeneity within both clusters: a central array of cassettes containing Mup genes highly similar at the protein level, flanked by regions containing Mup genes displaying significantly elevated divergence. Observed genomic rearrangements in all regions have likely been mediated by endogenous retroviral elements. Mup loci with coding sequences that differ between the strains are identified--including a gene/pseudogene pair--suggesting that these inbred lineages exhibit variation that exists in wild populations. We have characterized the distinct MUP profiles in the urine of both strains by mass spectrometry. The total MUP phenotype data is reconciled with our genomic sequence data, matching all proteins identified in urine to annotated genes.

Conclusion: Our observations indicate that the MUP phenotypic polymorphism observed in wild populations results from a combination of Mup gene turnover coupled with currently unidentified mechanisms regulating gene expression patterns. We propose that the structural heterogeneity described within the cluster reflects functional divergence within the Mup gene family.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2008-9-5-r91DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2441477PMC
July 2008

Finishing the finished human chromosome 22 sequence.

Genome Biol 2008 13;9(5):R78. Epub 2008 May 13.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.

Background: Although the human genome sequence was declared complete in 2004, the sequence was interrupted by 341 gaps of which 308 lay in an estimated approximately 28 Mb of euchromatin. While these gaps constitute only approximately 1% of the sequence, knowledge of the full complement of human genes and regulatory elements is incomplete without their sequences.

Results: We have used a combination of conventional chromosome walking (aided by the availability of end sequences) in fosmid and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries, whole chromosome shotgun sequencing, comparative genome analysis and long PCR to finish 8 of the 11 gaps in the initial chromosome 22 sequence. In addition, we have patched four regions of the initial sequence where the original clones were found to be deleted, or contained a deletion allele of a known gene, with a further 126 kb of new sequence. Over 1.018 Mb of new sequence has been generated to extend into and close the gaps, and we have annotated 16 new or extended gene structures and one pseudogene.

Conclusion: Thus, we have made significant progress to completing the sequence of the euchromatic regions of human chromosome 22 using a combination of detailed approaches. Our experience suggests that substantial work remains to close the outstanding gaps in the human genome sequence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2008-9-5-r78DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2441464PMC
July 2008
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