The searching of human housekeeping (HK) genes has been a long quest since the emergence of transcriptomics, and is instrumental for us to understand the structure of genome and the fundamentals of biological processes. The resolved genes are frequently used in evolution studies and as normalization standards in quantitative gene-expression analysis. Within the past 20 years, more than a dozen HK-gene studies have been conducted, yet none of them sampled human tissues completely. We believe an integration of these results will help remove false positive genes owing to the inadequate sampling. Surprisingly, we only find one common gene across 15 examined HK-gene datasets comprising 187 different tissue and cell types. Our subsequent analyses suggest that it might not be appropriate to rigidly define HK genes as expressed in all tissue types that have diverse developmental, physiological, and pathological states. It might be beneficial to use more robustly identified HK functions for filtering criteria, in which the representing genes can be a subset of genome. These genes are not necessarily the same, and perhaps need not to be the same, everywhere in our body.
Zhang Y, Li D, Sun B (2015) Do Housekeeping Genes Exist? PLoS ONE 10(5): e0123691. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123691
Do Housekeeping Genes Exist?
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