Mapping methylation

With the Human Genome Project largely complete, scientists are turning to variation in the epigenome and beginning to map chemical modifications of DNA that affect gene expression. Two recent studies that provide the first comprehensive maps of human DNA methylation -- one of the most commonly studied epigenetic modifications -- and a new initiative that aims to generate 1,000 more are a testament to this new focus in genetics research. Image: Wikimedia commons, NationalHuman Genome Research In

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Feb 2, 2010
With the Human Genome Project largely complete, scientists are turning to variation in the epigenome and beginning to map chemical modifications of DNA that affect gene expression. Two recent studies that provide the first comprehensive maps of human DNA methylation -- one of the most commonly studied epigenetic modifications -- and a new initiative that aims to generate 1,000 more are a testament to this new focus in genetics research.
Image: Wikimedia commons, National
Human Genome Research Institute
In the first direct comparison of the DNA methylation patterns at two different stages of differentiation in a single cell line, published online today in Genome Research, stem cell systems biologist linkurl:Jeanne Loring;http://www.scripps.edu/research/faculty.php?rec_id=24246 of the Scripps Research Institute and her colleagues detailed how methylation changes over the course of development. The changes were "much more subtle and clever than I would have imagined," Loring said. "Some [regions] remain methylated, some become...
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