Distributions of exons and introns in the human genome

In Silico Biol. 2004;4(4):387-93.


The human genome is revisited using exon and intron distribution profiles. The 26,564 annotated genes in the human genome (build October, 2003) contain 233,785 exons and 207,344 introns. On average, there are 8.8 exons and 7.8 introns per gene. About 80% of the exons on each chromosome are < 200 bp in length. < 0.01% of the introns are < 20 bp in length and < 10% of introns are more than 11,000 bp in length. These results suggest constraints on the splicing machinery to splice out very long or very short introns and provide insight to optimal intron length selection. Interestingly, the total length in introns and intergenic DNA on each chromosome is significantly correlated to the determined chromosome size with a coefficient of correlation r = 0.95 and r = 0.97, respectively. These results suggest their implication in genome design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Chromosomes, Human / genetics
  • Computational Biology
  • Exons / genetics*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Introns / genetics*