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Plant J. 2005 Jul;43(2):205-12.

Orphan transcripts in Arabidopsis thaliana: identification of several hundred previously unrecognized genes.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 25, Haus 20, D-14476 Golm/Potsdam, Germany.


Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) represent a huge resource for the discovery of previously unknown genetic information and functional genome assignment. In this study we screened a collection of 178 292 ESTs from Arabidopsis thaliana by testing them against previously annotated genes of the Arabidopsis genome. We identified several hundreds of new transcripts that match the Arabidopsis genome at so far unassigned loci. The transcriptional activity of these loci was independently confirmed by comparison with the Salk Whole Genome Array Data. To a large extent, the newly identified transcriptionally active genomic regions do not encode 'classic' proteins, but instead generate non-coding RNAs and/or small peptide-coding RNAs of presently unknown biological function. More than 560 transcripts identified in this study are not represented by the Affymetrix GeneChip arrays currently widely used for expression profiling in A. thaliana. Our data strongly support the hypothesis that numerous previously unknown genes exist in the Arabidopsis genome.

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