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Comparative Developmental Expression Profiling of Two C. elegans Isolates


Gene expression is known to change during development and to vary among genetically diverse strains. Previous studies of temporal patterns of gene expression during C. elegans development were incomplete, and little is known about how these patterns change as a function of genetic background. We used microarrays that comprehensively cover known and predicted worm genes to compare the landscape of genetic variation over developmental time between two isolates of C. elegans. We show that most genes vary in expression during development from egg to young adult, many genes vary in expression between the two isolates, and a subset of these genes exhibit isolate-specific changes during some developmental stages. This subset is strongly enriched for genes with roles in innate immunity. We identify several novel motifs that appear to play a role in regulating gene expression during development, and we propose functional annotations for many previously unannotated genes. These results improve our understanding of gene expression and function during worm development and lay the foundation for linkage studies of the genetic basis of developmental variation in gene expression in this important model organism.

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