The genome is the complement of DNA inside the nucleus of a cell. Within the genome are the genes and the regulatory elements, which are responsible for turning genes "on" or "off".
At the present time, we can identify genes that are turned on or "expressed" through a technique called gene expression profiling. We can also observe the level of activity of those genes. But we do not know much about the regulatory elements, which cause this activity. In other words, we can observe the effects of these elements but not the elements themselves. Our goal in this project is to develop computational approaches to find these elements.
To do so, the researchers will study the human genome and other genomic sequences such as the mouse and rat to derive computer-generated comparisons to identify regions of similarities. Such similar regions will represent DNA sequences which are evolutionary conserved and therefore more likely to have a potential function in gene regulation. Added to this will be information from the expression profiling studies, which will identify genes which behave similarily and therefore likely to possess similar regulatory elements. By means of data analysis, they will develop a list of regulatory elements; the genes upon which they have an effect; the magnitude of these effects and the tissues and developmental stages in which they are active.
This project is funded by Genome Canada.