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Nat Genet. 2008 Feb;40(2):158-60. doi: 10.1038/ng.2007.55. Epub 2008 Jan 6.

Ultraconservation identifies a small subset of extremely constrained developmental enhancers.

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  • 1Genomics Division, MS 84-171, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Extended perfect human-rodent sequence identity of at least 200 base pairs (ultraconservation) is potentially indicative of evolutionary or functional uniqueness. We used a transgenic mouse assay to compare the embryonic enhancer activity of 231 noncoding ultraconserved human genome regions with that of 206 extremely conserved regions lacking ultraconservation. Developmental enhancers were equally prevalent in both populations, suggesting instead that ultraconservation identifies a small, functionally indistinct subset of similarly constrained cis-regulatory elements.

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