A global definition of expression context is conserved between orthologs, but does not correlate with sequence conservation

Dutilh, Bas E; Huynen, Martijn A; Snel, Berend
January 2006
BMC Genomics;2006, Vol. 7, p10
Academic Journal
Background: The massive scale of microarray derived gene expression data allows for a global view of cellular function. Thus far, comparative studies of gene expression between species have been based on the level of expression of the gene across corresponding tissues, or on the coexpression of the gene with another gene. Results: To compare gene expression between distant species on a global scale, we introduce the "expression context". The expression context of a gene is based on the co-expression with all other genes that have unambiguous counterparts in both genomes. Employing this new measure, we show 1) that the expression context is largely conserved between orthologs, and 2) that sequence identity shows little correlation with expression context conservation after gene duplication and speciation. Conclusion: This means that the degree of sequence identity has a limited predictive quality for differential expression context conservation between orthologs, and thus presumably also for other facets of gene function.


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