Standard Article

The Biological Significance of Conserved Nongenic DNA

  1. Emmanouil T Dermitzakis

Published Online: 15 JUL 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020828



How to Cite

Dermitzakis, E. T. 2008. The Biological Significance of Conserved Nongenic DNA. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2008


Although the completion of the human genome was a landmark in genomics, the availability of a single genome did not offer the opportunity to detect most of the functional part of the genome. With the completion of the mouse genome and the subsequent release of additional mammalian and other vertebrate genomes, a large number of conserved nonprotein-coding sequences were discovered. The most surprising discovery was that the nongenic fraction of the genome that is under purifying selection is larger than the coding fraction of the genome. In this article we review some of the key discoveries in the field and discuss methodologies for the computational and functional interpretation of nongenic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).


  • comparative genomics;
  • evolution;
  • non-coding DNA