The Drosophila Dot Chromosomes
Our current projects center around the dot chromosome of Drosophila. This small chromosome is entirely heterochromatic by many measures, including dense staining, late replication, no meiotic combination, and association with high levels of HP1 and H3K9me3. However, the 1.2 Mb distal portion contain ~80 genes, exhibiting a gene density typical of the euchromatic domains. Our comparative analysis using several Drosophila species is allowing us to examine the characteristics of the genes and overall organization of this unique domain, as well as revealing how such a domain changes over evolutionary time. We plan to include modENCODE data in our analysis, relating patterns of genome organization to chromatin packaging and control of gene expression. Students at Washington University have completed sequencing and annotation of the dot chromosome from a strain of D. virilis (see Leung et al 2010). The GEP consortium has completed the annotation of D. erecta, and the sequence improvement and annotation of D. mojavensis and D. grimshawi. We are currently improving and annotating the dot chromosome and euchromatic reference regions of D. biarmipes and D. elegans. More Details...
We are in contact with groups involved in projects to improve sequence and annotate the genomes of various microbes and plants, as well as other experimental systems.