I would like to know if there are any dormant/non active genes in the human genome that we share with fish, and if so which are they?

Would it be possible to activate a dormant gene in humans in order to express it? And how would this be done?

Many thanks for your time!


There are many genes we share with fish, and in fact with all animals. For example, there are thoroughly studied development genes which we share with such distantly related animals as the fruit fly Drosophila sp. These development genes aren't precisely the same in terms of sequence, but they are very similar and perform the same functions during development, such as determination of body-part boundaries and direction of axes of symmetry. That one builds a fruit fly and one builds a human is a result of their differential regulation, even though the gene itself is very similar.

I'm sure there are some embryologists here who can give some more details.

Exactly how you might initiate expression of an inactive gene in humans depends on how it was inactivated in the first place, and it isn't a simple question to answer. A "pseudogene" is a locus which looks like it should code for protein, but doesn't due to mutations in the sequence rendering any protein coding into nonsense. Theoretically those mutations could be removed, but ethically such manipulations are dubious, not to mention difficult to the point of impossible (currently). Sometimes genes are dormant due to their regulatory elements, namely promoter and enhancer regions. These regions are thought to be responsible for tissue-specific expression patterns, so those factors would need to be considered as well.