Deep conservation of cis-regulatory elements in metazoans.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2013 Dec 11;368(1632):20130020. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, , Oxford, UK.

Despite the vast morphological variation observed across phyla, animals share multiple basic developmental processes orchestrated by a common ancestral gene toolkit. These genes interact with each other building complex gene regulatory networks (GRNs), which are encoded in the genome by cis-regulatory elements (CREs) that serve as computational units of the network. Although GRN subcircuits involved in ancient developmental processes are expected to be at least partially conserved, identification of CREs that are conserved across phyla has remained elusive. Here, we review recent studies that revealed such deeply conserved CREs do exist, discuss the difficulties associated with their identification and describe new approaches that will facilitate this search.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3826494PMC
December 2013
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References

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Davidson EH et al.
2006

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