About one-third of 1751 genes studied in the first comprehensive survey of the mouse genome are essential to life, according to research[ers]…Mutations of these genes cause death at the embryo stage. Many of them have counterparts in the human genome, so understanding why these genes are so vital could help prioritize human genes for study.
“This is the first comprehensive survey of its kind, and it shows that one-third of the mouse protein-coding genome is essential to life,” said Kent Lloyd…“This begins to inform what may be happening in people.”
Using high-resolution 3D imaging and automated, computational analysis of the images, the researchers established for each gene both the time of embryonic death and why the embryos died, shedding light on the function of these genes.
“Where we don’t know the cause of disease, they may not have a full knockout, but a variant that doesn’t work quite right,” Lloyd said.
The mouse data could help prioritize genes to study through the national Precision Medicine Initiative, he said.
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