Unravelling the ORFan puzzle

Naomi Siew, Daniel Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


ORFans are open reading frames (ORFs) with no detectable sequence similarity to any other sequence in the databases. Each newly sequenced genome contains a significant number of ORFans. Therefore, ORFans entail interesting evolutionary puzzles. However, little can be learned about them using bioinformatics tools, and their study seems to have been underemphasized. Here we present some of the questions that the existence of so many ORFans have raised and review some of the studies aimed at understanding ORFans, their functions and their origins. These works have demonstrated that ORFans are an untapped source of research, requiring further computational and experimental studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-441
Number of pages10
JournalComparative and Functional Genomics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2003


  • Evolution
  • Functional genomics
  • ORFans
  • Power-law
  • Structural genomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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