Genome walking in eukaryotes


L. R. Ceci, Institute of Biomembranes and Bioenergetics, CNR, Via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy
Fax: +39 080 544 3317
Tel: +39 080 544 3311


Genome walking is a molecular procedure for the direct identification of nucleotide sequences from purified genomes. The only requirement is the availability of a known nucleotide sequence from which to start. Several genome walking methods have been developed in the last 20 years, with continuous improvements added to the first basic strategies, including the recent coupling with next generation sequencing technologies. This review focuses on the use of genome walking strategies in several aspects of the study of eukaryotic genomes. In a first part, the analysis of the numerous strategies available is reported. The technical aspects involved in genome walking are particularly intriguing, also because they represent the synthesis of the talent, the fantasy and the intelligence of several scientists. Applications in which genome walking can be employed are systematically examined in the second part of the review, showing the large potentiality of this technique, including not only the simple identification of nucleotide sequences but also the analysis of large collections of mutants obtained from the insertion of DNA of viral origin, transposons and transfer DNA (T-DNA) constructs. The enormous amount of data obtained indicates that genome walking, with its large range of applicability, multiplicity of strategies and recent developments, will continue to have much to offer for the rapid identification of unknown sequences in several fields of genomic research.