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Profiling gene expression in the mouse hippocampus
  
By
Edward R. Winstead


Researchers have used DNA microarrays representing 11,000 mouse genes to profile gene expression patterns in the hippocampus region of the mouse brain during early development. Nearly 2,000 of these genes differed significantly in their expression patterns at various stages of embryonic and early postnatal development. A 'cluster' analysis of the data suggests that genes with similar expression dynamics may be functionally related.

Joe Z. Tsien, of Princeton University, in New Jersey, and colleagues used Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarrays to record the activity at five points in time of 11,000 genes and partial genes, or expressed sequence tags. Of these, 1,926 showed dynamic changes in expression in the hippocampus during early development. The researchers categorized these genes into 16 distinct clusters, or groups of genes with similar expression patterns.

"The coordinated expression of genes in each cluster suggests that their function may be similar or may underlie a specific biological process," the researchers write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They suggest that cluster analyses will prove to be a valuable strategy for investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in brain development in mammals. The hippocampus plays a key role in learning and memory in humans and animals.

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Mody, M. et al. Genome-wide gene expression profiles of the developing mouse hippocampus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98, 8862-8867 (July 17, 2001).
 

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