The identification of sequences within noncoding regions of genes that are conserved between several species may indicate potential regulatory elements. This is important for genes with complex control mechanisms such as the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). CFTR demonstrates similar patterns of temporal and spatial expression in human and sheep, but these differ significantly in mouse cftr. The complete sheep CFTR sequence is unavailable so we annotated BAC clones encompassing the CFTR gene from two other artiodactyl species (cow and pig) for comparative sequence analysis. Regions of introns 2, 3, 10, 17a, 18, and 21 and 3′ flanking sequence corresponding to human CFTR DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHS) showed high homology in the cow and pig. Cross-species sequence conservation also enabled finer mapping of other human DHS, including those in introns 1, 16, and 20. Additional potential regulatory elements not associated with human DHS were also identified.
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