Bioinformatics Forum: Detecting Functional Overlapping Genes

Niv Sabath (Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston, TX )
Monday, 27.7.2009, 10:30
2nd floor Miklat, Biology Build.

As far as protein-coding genes are concerned, there is a non-zero probability that at least one of the five possible overlapping sequences of any gene will contain an open-reading frame (ORF) of a length that may be suitable for coding a functional protein. It is, however, very difficult to determine whether or not such an ORF is functional. We developed a new method that employs evolutionary principles to identify functional overlapping genes based on the signature of natural selection. With this method, we discovered a new overlapping gene in the genomes of Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) and three other viruses. IAPV infects honeybees and is associated with colony collapse disorder, a syndrome characterized by the mass disappearance of bees from hives. The discovery of a new gene may improve our understanding of this virus and its interaction with its host.

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