Common structural patterns in human genes

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A graphical representation of the exon–intron structure of various genes, such as that presented by the National Center for Biotechnology Information Map Viewer, suggests a digital waveform or pattern that varies either in amplitude or frequency. This observation suggests that different genes may have portions of their total exon–intron structure in common. The existence of common structural patterns across unrelated genes suggests the repeated insertion of transposable elements throughout the human genome and/or a common structural function.


We compared the exon–intron size patterns of a number of human genes and discovered numerous conserved arrangements with similarity at a high degree of stringency (>99%) across the otherwise unrelated and diverse genomic landscape. In our experimental analyses, more than 200 patterns of length 2 or greater at 99% stringency were found among the 72 genes we compared.

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