A funny thing happened to the Keystone symposium on epigenetics and development, apparently a few years back it got invaded by chromatin people. At my first day at the symposium, I uncovered just a little grumbling that the histone modifications that control the winding and packing of DNA and that ultimately grant or restrict access to transcriptional machinery don?t quite qualify as epigenetic marks. The players in the field have yet to demonstrate that they are heritable said Ueli Grossniklaus of the University of Zurich as we chatted at the evening poster session. Nevertheless, it?s hard not to get excited about the possibility that there is an underlying language of histone modifications: acetylation, methylation, and phosphorylation on specific sites of histone tails that appear to serve as codified landing pads for chromatin remodeling proteins. When David Allis of Rockefeller University talks about it it?s darn near impossible not to be...
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