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Nat Biotechnol. 2000 Feb;18(2):181-6.

Analysis of vertebrate SCL loci identifies conserved enhancers.

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  • 1University of Cambridge, Department of Haematology, MRC Centre, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QH, UK.

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  • Nat Biotechnol 2000 Oct;18(10):1021.


The SCL gene encodes a highly conserved bHLH transcription factor with a pivotal role in hemopoiesis and vasculogenesis. We have sequenced and analyzed 320 kb of genomic DNA composing the SCL loci from human, mouse, and chicken. Long-range sequence comparisons demonstrated multiple peaks of human/mouse homology, a subset of which corresponded precisely with known SCL enhancers. Comparisons between mammalian and chicken sequences identified some, but not all, SCL enhancers. Moreover, one peak of human/mouse homology (+23 region), which did not correspond to a known enhancer, showed significant homology to an analogous region of the chicken SCL locus. A transgenic Xenopus reporter assay was established and demonstrated that the +23 region contained a new neural enhancer. This combination of long-range comparative sequence analysis with a high-throughput transgenic bioassay provides a powerful strategy for identifying and characterizing developmentally important enhancers.

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