Model organisms up close

New research from the frontlines of the modENCODE Project reveals the most comprehensive genomic picture of the worm and the fruit fly

Cristina Luiggi
Scientists are revealing the deepest annotations of the genomes of two of the most widely used model organisms in biology: __Caenorhabditis elegans__ and __Drosophila melanogaster__.
Caenorhabditis elegans
Image: Wikimedia commons
The findings appear this week in linkurl:two; linkurl:papers; in Nature and linkurl:one; in Science. Launched in 2007 by the National Human Genome Research Institute, modENCODE aims to identify and map out all the functional elements of the __C. elegans__ and __D. melanogaster__ genomes. That includes the entire chromatin landscape as well as all the RNA transcripts, transcription factors, small RNAs, and origins of replications. Its complementary program, linkurl:ENCODE,; aims to do the same with the human genome.In a statistical and experimental tour de force, the modENCODE Consortium pulled together more than 700 gene expression data sets for __D. melanogaster__ and 237 for __Caenorhabditis elegans__ across several developmental stages."It's amazingly extensive work," said linkurl:David Fitch,; a geneticist at New York...
C. elegansC. elegans
Drosophila melanogaster, male (left) and female
Image: Wikimedia commons
NatureB.R. Graveley et al., "The developmental transcriptome of Drosophila melanogaster," Nature, doi:10.1038/nature09715, 2010.P.V. Kharchenko et al., "Comprehensive analysis of the chromatin landscape in Drosophila melanogaster," Nature, doi:10.1038/nature09725, 2010.M.B. Gerstein et al., "Integrative analysis of the Caenorhabditis elegans genome by the modENCODE Project," Science, 330: 1775-87, 2010.

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