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Genomics. 2000 Jun 1;66(2):175-83.

cDNA cloning, genomic structure, and chromosomal localization of three members of the human fatty acid desaturase family.

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  • 1Institute of Human Genetics, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, 97074, Germany.


The insertion of double bonds into specific positions of fatty acids is achieved by the action of distinct desaturase enzymes. Here we report the cloning and characterization of three members of the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene family in humans. Initially identified as cDNA fragments by direct cDNA selection within a defined 1.4-Mb region in 11q12-q13.1, full-length fatty acid desaturase-1 (FADS1) and fatty acid desaturase-2 (FADS2) transcripts were obtained by EST sequence assembly. A third member, fatty acid desaturase-3 (FADS3), was identified in silico revealing 62 and 70% nucleotide sequence identity with FADS1 and FADS2, respectively. The three genes are clustered within 92 kb of genomic DNA located 2 kb telomeric to FEN1 and 50 kb centromeric to VMD2 and are likely to have arisen evolutionarily from gene duplication as they share a remarkably similar exon/intron organization. Protein database searches identified FADS1, FADS2, and FADS3 as fusion products composed of an N-terminal cytochrome b5-like domain and a C-terminal multiple membrane-spanning desaturase portion.

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