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New framework map of the rat genome
Edward R. Winstead

Researchers have created a new 'framework' map of the rat genome by assigning more than 11,000 partial gene sequences, or ESTs, to locations on chromosomes containing 775 genomic landmarks. The new resource is at least the third framework map for the rat, and the researchers combined new and published data to construct human-rat and rat-mouse comparative maps. This verified most of the previously identified shared, or 'syntenic,' regions among the genomes and yielded 25 'novel' rat-human sequences plus five previously unidentified mouse-rat sequences.

Val C. Sheffield, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Iowa, led the study, which was completed prior to the publication of the human genome sequence. The rat genome is scheduled to be sequenced within two years by a collaboration that includes Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and Celera Genomics in Rockville, Maryland, and is funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

"What's new here is that our map was constructed at a higher resolution than previous maps," says Todd Scheetz, of the University of Iowa, in Iowa City. "These data should prove useful during the shotgun sequencing of the rat genome as a way to identify contiguous stretches of sequence that belong near each other in the genome but may contain gaps and as an independent verification of the results."

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Scheetz, T.E. et al. Generation of a high-density rat EST map. Genome Res 11, 497-502 (March 2001).

Steen, R.G. et al. A high-density integrated genetic linkage and radiation hybrid map of the laboratory rat. Genome Res 9, AP1-AP8 (August 1999).

Watanabe, T.K. et al. A radiation hybrid map of the rat genome containing 5,255 markers. Nat Genet 22, 27-36 (May 1999).

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