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Isolation of specific antibodies was accomplished by affinity chromatography using pooled mouse IgG covalently linked to agarose. Based on ELISA and flow cytometry, this antibody reacts with the heavy and light chains of mouse IgG1, IgG2a, IgG2b, and IgG3, and with the light chains of mouse IgM and IgA. This antibody was tested by dot blot and and/or solid-phase adsorbed for minimal cross-reactivity with human, rabbit, goat, rat, and horse serum proteins, but may cross-react with immunoglobulins from other species. The conjugate has been specifically tested and qualified for Western blot applications.

In a year notable for the completion of a draft human genome sequence, it was appropriate that a major topic at the 15th International Mouse Genome Conference was a discussion of the status of the mouse genome project. Details of the public-domain effort were presented by John McPherson (Washington University, St Louis, USA), Kerstin Lindblad-Toh (Whitehead Institute, Cambridge, USA), Shaying Zhao (The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, USA), Anne-Marie Mallon (Medical Research Council Mouse Genome Centre and Mammalian Genetics Unit (MRC MGU/MGC), Harwell, UK), and Jim Thomas (National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, USA). The approach being taken combines sequencing of bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) - this was the main method for sequencing the human genome - and whole-genome shotgun sequencing, which is advocated by investigators at Celera Genomics. A fingerprinted physical map of 300,000 BAC clones has been generated and aligned to the mouse radiation-hybrid map using sequence-tagged sites (STSs) derived from microsatellite sequences and expressed sequence tags (ESTs). The precise position of the BACs on the map is being refined with the help of the sequences of the ends of many of the BACs. Nearly threefold (3x) coverage of the genome using shotgun sequence has been completed and deposited in public domain databases.

One aim of the public mouse genome-sequencing effort is to generate shotgun-sequence reads from different mouse strains, in order to identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). (As plans for this component are in development, we propose that the validation and characterization of SNPs in a large number of commonly used inbred strains is as important as SNP discovery itself, and urge that appropriate resources be devoted to it). An important part of genomics is the informatics required for data management and analysis; programs for organizing and annotating mouse genome sequence in the Ensembl project and at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI _musculus.html) were presented by Tim Hubbard (Sanger Centre, Hinxton, UK) and Deanna Church (NCBI, NIH, Bethesda, USA), respectively.

The other sequencing effort for the mouse genome is the proprietary sequence completed by Celera Genomics, described by Gene Myers (Celera Genomics, Rockville, USA). Myers and colleagues have assembled a reasonably complete mouse sequence using only 5.3x shotgun sequence coverage together with a bioinformatic assembly protocol that combines analysis of sequence identity between shotgun sequence reads with 'mate-pair' information, that is, information from the pairing of reads derived from opposite ends of each clone. Although some investigators have noted errors in the assembled sequence - and it is not clear what is being done to correct these - there can be little argument that Celera's work provides an extremely valuable resource to those who have access to it. It also validates the assertion made by Craig Venter and colleagues (Celera) that assembly of complex genome sequences using only shotgun sequence data is feasible; the Celera human genome assembly was not a conclusive validation because it used public-domain BAC sequences as well as shotgun sequence.

With the rapidly progressing sequencing of the mouse genome comes the possibility of perf


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