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Nucleic Acids Res. 2006 Jul 19;34(12):3585-98. Print 2006.

Computational identification of transcriptional regulatory elements in DNA sequence.

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Research Genetics Division, Rosetta Inpharmatics LLC, Merck & Co., Inc, 401 Terry Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Identification and annotation of all the functional elements in the genome, including genes and the regulatory sequences, is a fundamental challenge in genomics and computational biology. Since regulatory elements are frequently short and variable, their identification and discovery using computational algorithms is difficult. However, significant advances have been made in the computational methods for modeling and detection of DNA regulatory elements. The availability of complete genome sequence from multiple organisms, as well as mRNA profiling and high-throughput experimental methods for mapping protein-binding sites in DNA, have contributed to the development of methods that utilize these auxiliary data to inform the detection of transcriptional regulatory elements. Progress is also being made in the identification of cis-regulatory modules and higher order structures of the regulatory sequences, which is essential to the understanding of transcription regulation in the metazoan genomes. This article reviews the computational approaches for modeling and identification of genomic regulatory elements, with an emphasis on the recent developments, and current challenges.

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