Two studies of mammalian protein-coding genes have found that alternative splicing -- the ability of the genes to be transcribed in a variety of patterns -- is more species-specific than previously thought. Both studies, published Thursday in Science, used high-throughput sequencing of messenger RNA in multiple vertebrate species to document alternative splicing patterns and transcription levels. "It was ... generally assumed that splicing differences that you see between brain and muscle in the mouse would be similar between brain and muscle in the human," but the findings went against that, said Case Western Reserve University professor Donny Licatalosi, who was not involved in the studies.

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