Human chromosome 21 is associated with many disorders, including Down syndrome (DS). In an effort to identify genes involved in brain development or function and therefore implicated in the mental retardation associated with DS, we chose YACs from three regions of chromosome 21: a region within the so-called 'Down syndrome critical region,' a region proximal to it, and one distal to it. We made cosmid libraries from these YACs and generated high-resolution physical maps by constructing cosmid contigs. These are the first cosmid contigs on chromosome 21 outside the critical region. The cosmids were used for direct selection of cDNAs to isolate chromosome 21 expressed sequences. We have isolated 45 nonredundant partial cDNAs and mapped these back to the cosmid contigs. We isolated 3 nonoverlapping portions of DSCR1 and a part of GIRK2 and identified 3 nonoverlapping partial cDNAs with similarity to the rat Dyrk gene, which turned out to be the human homologue (MNB) of the Drosophila minibrain gene. Twelve sequences had matches with either STS or EST entries in the databases, including a chromosome 21 EST, a chromosome 21 STS, and 6 unmapped expressed sequence entries. Only 1 sequence resulted in a match with a protein entry. The remaining 25 sequences revealed no similarity to any database entry. All of these partial cDNAs are expressed as determined by Northern blotting or by RT-PCR.
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