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LIFE SCIENCE TECHNOLOGIES: Epigenomics: The New Technologies of Chromatin Analysis

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Science  26 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6106, pp. 546-548
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6106.546


Multicellular organisms are essentially clonal. Every cell possesses the same DNA as every other. So what distinguishes a liver cell from a neuron? Epigenetics, that constellation of noncoding RNAs, protein-DNA interactions, and molecular modifications that govern which genes are expressed and which stay silent. Epigenetic mechanisms influence processes from stem cell differentiation to cancer, and researchers are keen to understand how these events differ at the genomic scale–the so-called epigenome. The problem is daunting, but the research community is resourceful. The epigenome has never seemed closer.