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Title: Analysis of 5' gene regions reveals extraordinary conservation of novel non-coding sequences in a wide range of animals.
Authors: Davies, Nathaniel J.
Krusche, Peter
Tauber, Eran
Ott, Sascha
First Published: 19-Oct-2015
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2015, 15:227
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Phylogenetic footprinting is a comparative method based on the principle that functional sequence elements will acquire fewer mutations over time than non-functional sequences. Successful comparisons of distantly related species will thus yield highly important sequence elements likely to serve fundamental biological roles. RNA regulatory elements are less well understood than those in DNA. In this study we use the emerging model organism Nasonia vitripennis, a parasitic wasp, in a comparative analysis against 12 insect genomes to identify deeply conserved non-coding elements (CNEs) conserved in large groups of insects, with a focus on 5' UTRs and promoter sequences. RESULTS: We report the identification of 322 CNEs conserved across a broad range of insect orders. The identified regions are associated with regulatory and developmental genes, and contain short footprints revealing aspects of their likely function in translational regulation. The most ancient regions identified in our analysis were all found to overlap transcribed regions of genes, reflecting stronger conservation of translational regulatory elements than transcriptional elements. Further expanding sequence analyses to non-insect species we also report the discovery of, to our knowledge, the two oldest and most ubiquitous CNE's yet described in the animal kingdom (700 MYA). These ancient conserved non-coding elements are associated with the two ribosomal stalk genes, RPLP1 and RPLP2, and were very likely functional in some of the earliest animals. CONCLUSIONS: We report the identification of the most deeply conserved CNE's found to date, and several other deeply conserved elements which are without exception, part of 5' untranslated regions of transcripts, and occur in a number of key translational regulatory genes, highlighting translational regulation of translational regulators as a conserved feature of insect genomes.
DOI Link: 10.1186/s12862-015-0499-6
eISSN: 1471-2148
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2015 Davies et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Genetics

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