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Elliott & Elliott: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 4e

Chapter 21

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An account of the ?unorthodox? genes - jumping genes, fragile chromosomes, expanded genes, edited mRNA, and nonstandard genetic code in mitochondria and chloroplasts.

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Betting on human gene numbers in 2000. Amusing, but gives perspectives on DNA research.

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Transcriptional complexity may be the answer to why humans have relatively few genes.

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Chromatin was found to be digested in a nonrandom manner.

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Junk DNA

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Papers cover noncoding RNAs and RNA silencing

Gibbs, W. W. (2003). Hidden genes. Sci. Am., 289, 28-33.
Genes that work through RNA rather than protein.

Mattick, J. S. (2003). Challenging the dogma: the hidden layer of nonprotein-coding RNAs in complex organisms. BioEssays, 25, 930-9 [DOI: 10.1002/bies.10332] [PubMed: 14505360].
An early prediction of the importance of RNA in gene control.

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Summary of the recent progress identifying small RNA aptamers, called ?riboswitches?. Found in the leader sequences of many metabolic genes they can repress or activate their cognate genes at both transcriptional and translational levels.

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Nature News and Views article

No authors quoted. (2007). Identification and analysis of functional elements in 1% of the human genome by the ENCODE pilot project. Nature, 447, 799-816 [DOI: 10.1038/nature05874] [PubMed: 17571346].

Pennisi, E. (2007). DNA study forces rethink of what it means to be a gene. Science, 316, 1556-7 [DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5831.1556] [PubMed: 17569836].
A commentary on the ENCODE project results which shows that genes may be far from compact assemblies but have regions scattered around the genome. Highly readable.