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Bioessays. 2002 Jun;24(6):564-72.

Search for enhancers: teleost models in comparative genomic and transgenic analysis of cis regulatory elements.

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  • 1Institute of Toxicology and Genetics, Research Center Karlsruhe, Germany.


Homology searches between DNA sequences of evolutionary distant species (phylogenetic footprinting) offer a fast detection method for regulatory sequences. Because of the small size of their genomes, tetraodontid species such as the Japanese pufferfish and green spotted pufferfish have become attractive models for comparative genomics. A disadvantage of the tetraodontid species is, however, that they cannot be bred and manipulated routinely under laboratory conditions, so these species are less attractive for developmental and genetic analysis. In contrast, an increasing arsenal of transgene techniques with the developmental model species zebrafish and medaka are being used for functional analysis of cis regulatory sequences. The main disadvantage is the much larger genome. While comparison between many loci proved the suitability of phylogenetic footprinting using fish and mammalian sequences, fast rate of change in enhancer structure and gene duplication within teleosts may obscure detection of homologies. Here we discuss the contribution and potentials provided by different teleost models for the detection and functional analysis of conserved cis-regulatory elements.

Copyright 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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