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Some genes expressed in the human brain may encode dozens of proteins or even more, New Scientist reports.

A University of Exeter-led team generated the full transcriptome of the human cerebral cortex, which is involved in perception, cognition, and consciousness. As they write in Cell Reports, the researchers used long-read isoform sequencing to generate full-length cDNA sequences from both the human and mouse cortex and identified a number of previously unknown transcripts.

In all, New Scientist notes that though there are 13,000 genes active in this brain region, the researchers identified 33,000 different mRNAs, though not all may become proteins. In particular, the researchers uncovered a number of alternative splicing events and fusion genes from read-through events, underscoring the importance of alternative splicing in the brain.

"From the same set of genetic information, you can derive a lot more endpoints," senior author Jonathan Mill from Exeter tells New Scientist.