“The majority of DNA in our bodies is packaged, or tightly structured,” said Gregory Crawford, Ph.D., a researcher in the IGSP and one of the senior investigators on this study. “Our goal was to identify the areas of DNA across the entire genome that are not packaged, because we know those are the regions that are important in regulating gene activity.”
The researchers published their findings in the January 25, 2008 issue of the journal Cell. The study was funded by the Duke IGSP and the National Human Genome Research Institute.
They combined two known processes to look at regulatory regions across the whole human genome, Crawford said.
“We used an enzyme called DNase that has been known for decades to preferentially identify unpackaged regions of DNA,” he said. “In this study, we identified all unpackaged regions within the entire genome using two extremely efficient methodologies: microarrays and sequencing.”
Microarrays are glass slides on which scientists can simultaneously look at millions of short pieces of DNA. New sequencing technologies are able to determine the genetic code of millions of DNA fragments. Together, these tools generated guides to understanding the location of the unpackaged regions, and the researchers compared the results found using each method and found high levels of agreement.
By combining the two methods, the researchers were able to scan the entire genome efficiently.
“Scientists have used similar methods to look at tiny portions of the genome in the past, but ours is the first technology to really allow researchers to look at the whole genome, so we can see all of the areas where gene regulation occurs,” said Terrence Furey, Ph.D., a researcher in the IGSP and co-senior investigator on this study. “Identifying these sites may help us understand the biological basis for gene regulation expression patterns in different cell types. We'll also compare patterns within and across species, in response to external stimuli and in diseased tissues.”
The researchers said they looked at normal cells for this study because in order to understand anything about disease or the aging processes, it's important to first understand what a normal cell looks like.
“Perhaps in the future, this data resource could help researchers learn to turn a harmful gene off or increase the expression of helpful ones,” Furey said.
Lauren Shaftel Williams | EurekAlert!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy