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Our understanding of biological processes in humans is often based on examination of analogous processes in other organisms. The nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans has been a particularly valuable model, leading to Nobel prize winning discoveries in development and genetics. Until recently, however, the worm has not been widely used as a model to study transcription due to the lack of a comprehensive catalogue of its RNA transcripts. A recent study by Chen et al. uses next-generation sequencing to address this issue, mapping the transcription initiation sites in C. elegans and finding many unexpected similarities between the transcription of enhancers and promoters in the worm and mammalian genomes. As well as providing a valuable resource for researchers in the C. elegans community, these findings raise the possibility of using the worm as a model to investigate some key, current questions about transcriptional regulation that remain technically challenging in more complex organisms.

Original publication

DOI

10.1002/bies.201300105

Type

Journal article

Journal

Bioessays

Publication Date

02/2014

Volume

36

Pages

157 - 162

Keywords

C. elegans, chromatin landscape, enhancer, gene regulation, model organism, promoter, transcription initiation, Animals, Caenorhabditis elegans, Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins, Enhancer Elements, Genetic, Gene Expression Regulation, Genome, Mammals, Promoter Regions, Genetic