Identification of critical gene regulatory domains using bioinformatics and comparative genomics

Over the last ten years, researchers have identified all the genes in our species—approximately 40,000 genes—called the human genome. The mouse genome will be completed soon. It’s estimated that mice and humans shared a common ancestor 70-100 million years ago, and we still share many of the same genes. Dr. Mia Klannemark is using specialized computer programs to compare data on mouse and human genes. She hopes to gain insight into regulatory regions adjacent to genes, which control the production of proteins. Mia is examining how genes make proteins, and identifying which regulatory regions have remained the same between mice and humans, because these genes indicate important functions that have not changed over the period of evolution. She is also identifying genes that have changed, which may contribute to the differences between species. This knowledge will help us understand how genetic variation influences the development of disease, and could lead to more effective treatments.