The+Sea+Urchin+Genome - The Sea Urchin Genome: Where Will...

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The Sea Urchin Genome: Where Will It Lead Us? Eric H. Davidson The sea urchin genome reveals large domains of biology heretofore unexplored at the genome level, as this is the first nonchordate deuterostome sequence. The sequence will accelerate progress toward complete understanding of the genomic regulatory system that controls developmental specification and morphogenetic function, thus illuminating basic developmental process in all animals. Division of Biology, 156-29, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA. E-mail: On 1 December 1997, a large male sea urchin of the species Strongylocentrotus purpuratus , probably at least 20 years old, donated several milliliters of his sperm in order for a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library to be made of his genome. Immortalized and arrayed in many thousands of small wells, this library contained all the genes and all the hard-wired regulatory instructions required for construction of this sea urchin's body and for his physiological performance in confronting the natural environment (and our laboratory environment), as well as the millions of sequence differences distinguishing his maternal and paternal genomes. This particular library has played an unusually rich role in current bioscience. It provided the sequence base for the first large-scale developmental gene regulatory network to be solved for embryogenesis, the initial version of which was published in these pages in 2002 ( 1 ), and it was the DNA of this same male and of this same BAC library that have now been sequenced as presented in this issue of Science ( 2 ). The white paper on the basis of which it was decided to proceed with the sequencing effort was written in 2002. This was exactly a century after Boveri concluded from a famous experiment that all chromosomes (i.e., the complete genome) must be present in every cell of a sea urchin embryo for embryonic development to occur normally ( 3 ). We now have in digital form the first genome of a nonchordate deuterostome. This is of particular interest because the deuterostomes are the large group of animal species to which both we and sea urchins belong. Sea urchins are hence more closely related to us in evolution than are flies or worms. This is also the first genome of a nonchordate marine animal of any kind to be sequenced. Among the important insights from the genome sequence was the definition of the "deuterostome toolkit," the set of genes particular to this group of animals and not shared with others kinds of
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2011 for the course FAMR 230 taught by Professor Brown,l during the Spring '08 term at University of Hawaii, Manoa.

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The+Sea+Urchin+Genome - The Sea Urchin Genome: Where Will...

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