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Overlapping genes in the human genome

Part 2. Genomics

2.3. The Human Genome

Short Specialist Review

  1. Izabela Makalowska

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g203314

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Makalowska, I. 2005. Overlapping genes in the human genome. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 2:2.3:31.

Author Information

  1. Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005

Abstract

Overlapping genes in mammalian genomes are unexpected phenomena. Over 700 pairs of protein-coding overlapping genes have been reported so far. Overlapping genes can be divided into those that share the same locus but the overlaps are only between exonic region in one gene and intronic area in another and genes that share not only locus but also exonic sequences. Depending on which parts of two genes share the genomic region, we can also categorize these overlaps as head to head when they overlap in the 5′ regions, and tail to tail when overlap involves the 3′ ends. Special types are embedded genes, a case where one gene lies completely in the area of another one. The biologic functions of natural antisense transcripts, their involvement in physiological processes and gene regulation in living organisms are not fully understood. Similarly, evolution of such genes is not known, existing hypotheses can explain only selected cases of mammalian gene overlaps.

Keywords:

  • overlapping genes;
  • antisense;
  • antitranscript;
  • evolution;
  • gene structure;
  • genome organization