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Dev Biol. 2006 Dec 1;300(1):476-84. Epub 2006 Aug 22.

A database of mRNA expression patterns for the sea urchin embryo.

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National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We present an initial characterization of a database that contains temporal expression profiles of sequences found in 35,282 gene predictions within the sea urchin genome. The relative RNA abundance for each sequence was determined at 5 key stages of development using high-density oligonucleotide microarrays that were hybridized with populations of polyA+ RNA sequence. These stages were two-cell, which represents maternal RNA, early blastula, the time at which major tissue territories are specified, early and late gastrula, during which important morphogenetic events occur, and the pluteus larva, which marks the culmination of pre-feeding embryogenesis. We provide evidence that the microarray reliably reports the temporal profiles for the large majority of predicted genes, as shown by comparison to data for many genes with known expression patterns. The sensitivity of this assay allows detection of mRNAs whose concentration is only several hundred copies/embryo. The temporal expression profiles indicate that 5% of the gene predictions encode mRNAs that are found only in the maternal population while 24% are embryo-specific. Further, we find that the concentration of >80% of different mRNAs is modulated by more than a factor of 3 during development. Along with the annotated sea urchin genome sequence and the whole-genome tiling array (the transcriptome, Samanta, M., Tongprasit, W., Istrrail, S., Cameron, R., Tu, Q., Davidson, E., Stolc, V., in press. A high-resolution transcriptome map of the sea urchin embryo. Science), this database proves a valuable resource for designing experiments to test the function of specific genes during development.

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