What does our genome encode?

  1. John A. Stamatoyannopoulos1
  1. Departments of Genome Sciences and Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA


In its first production phase, The ENCODE Project Consortium (ENCODE) has generated thousands of genome-scale data sets, resulting in a genomic “parts list” that encompasses transcripts, sites of transcription factor binding, and other functional features that now number in the millions of distinct elements. These data are reshaping many long-held beliefs concerning the information content of the human and other complex genomes, including the very definition of the gene. Here I discuss and place in context many of the leading findings of ENCODE, as well as trends that are shaping the generation and interpretation of ENCODE data. Finally, I consider prospects for the future, including maximizing the accuracy, completeness, and utility of ENCODE data for the community.


This article is distributed exclusively by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the first six months after the full-issue publication date (see http://genome.cshlp.org/site/misc/terms.xhtml). After six months, it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License), as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.

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