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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr James Dachtler

Pervolaraki, E, Dachtler, J, Anderson, RA & Holden, AV (2018). The developmental transcriptome of the human heart. Scientific Reports 8(1): 15362

Author(s) from Durham


The human heart develops through complex mechanisms producing morphological and functional changes during gestation. We have recently demonstrated using diffusion tensor MRI that over the relatively short space of 40 days, between 100–140 days gestational age, the ventricular myocardium transforms from a disorganised tissue to the ordered structure characteristic of mature cardiac tissue. However, the genetic basis underpinning this maturation is unclear. Herein, we have used RNA-Seq to establish the developmentally-regulated transcriptome of gene expression in the developing human heart across three gestational ages in the first and second trimester. By comparing 9 weeks gestational age (WGA) with 12 WGA, we find 288 genes show significant differential expression. 305 genes were significantly altered comparing 12 and 16 WGA, and 806 genes differentially expressed between 9 and 16 WGA. Network analysis was used to identify genetic interactions, node properties and gene ontology categories. In summary, we present a comprehensive transcriptomic analysis of human heart development during early gestation, and identify differentially expressed genes during heart development between 9 and 16 weeks, overlapping the first and early second trimester.