Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


The collection of components required to carry out the intricate processes involved in generating and maintaining a living, breathing and, sometimes, thinking organism is staggeringly complex. Where do all of the parts come from? Early estimates stated that about 100,000 genes would be required to make up a mammal; however, the actual number is less than one-quarter of that, barely four times the number of genes in budding yeast. It is now clear that the ‘missing’ information is in large part provided by alternative splicing, the process by which multiple different functional messenger RNAs, and therefore proteins, can be synthesized from a single gene.


Nature. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 September 17. Published in final edited form as: Nature. 2010 January 28; 463(7280): 457–463. doi: 10.1038/nature08909 PMCID: PMC3443858 NIHMSID: NIHMS187874