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Am J Hum Genet. 2006 Feb;78(2):291-302. Epub 2005 Dec 22.

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in NAGNAG acceptors are highly predictive for variations of alternative splicing.

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  • 1Institute of Computer Science, Chair for Bioinformatics, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany.


Aberrant or modified splicing patterns of genes are causative for many human diseases. Therefore, the identification of genetic variations that cause changes in the splicing pattern of a gene is important. Elsewhere, we described the widespread occurrence of alternative splicing at NAGNAG acceptors. Here, we report a genomewide screen for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that affect such tandem acceptors. From 121 SNPs identified, we extracted 64 SNPs that most likely affect alternative NAGNAG splicing. We demonstrate that the NAGNAG motif is necessary and sufficient for this type of alternative splicing. The evolutionarily young NAGNAG alleles, as determined by the comparison with the chimpanzee genome, exhibit the same biases toward intron phase 1 and single-amino acid insertion/deletions that were already observed for all human NAGNAG acceptors. Since 28% of the NAGNAG SNPs occur in known disease genes, they represent preferable candidates for a more-detailed functional analysis, especially since the splice relevance for some of the coding SNPs is overlooked. Against the background of a general lack of methods for identifying splice-relevant SNPs, the presented approach is highly effective in the prediction of polymorphisms that are causal for variations in alternative splicing.

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