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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Characterisation of the GH gene cluster in a new-world monkey, the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus).

In most mammals pituitary GH is encoded by a single gene with no close relatives. However, in man the GH gene has been shown to be one of a cluster of five closely related genes, four of which are expressed in the placenta. Rhesus monkey also expresses at least five closely related GH-like genes, although the genomic organisation of these has not been fully reported. Here we describe the cloning and characterisation of GH-like genes in a new-world monkey, the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). This species possesses a cluster of eight GH-like 'genes'. The gene at the 5' end of this cluster encodes pituitary GH and is similar to that encoding human GH. Five of the eight marmoset 'genes' are probably pseudogenes, since they include mutations which would prevent normal expression, including stop codons and small insertions/deletions that would change the reading frame. In one case a large part of a gene is deleted, and in another a large insertion is introduced into an exon. The remaining two marmoset genes are potentially expressible, as proteins with sequences substantially different (at 25-30% of all residues) from that of marmoset GH itself; whether and in which tissue(s) such expression actually occurs is not yet known. None of the marmoset genes is clearly equivalent to any of the human GH-like genes expressed in the placenta, and this and phylogenetic analysis suggest that the duplications that gave rise to the marmoset GH gene cluster occurred independently of those that gave rise to the corresponding cluster in man. Although it includes more 'genes', the marmoset cluster extends over a shorter region of chromosomal DNA (about 35 kb) than does the human GH gene cluster (about 50 kb).[1]


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