In DepthGenomics

Inching toward the 3D genome

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Science  02 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6217, pp. 10
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6217.10

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Just as folding a flat sheet of paper can transform it into a crane or lotus flower, researchers have come to realize that a complex pattern of loops and folds helps bring particular genes into direct contact with distant stretches of DNA that regulate those genes' activity, spurring the gene expression that makes a bone, muscle, or brain cell—or fuels a cancer. An 11 December report online in Cell revealed the most elaborate maps yet of DNA folding—the so-called nucleome. However, a paper in Genes & Development reported that various mapping techniques sometimes yield patterns that are radically different, raising questions about just what these maps really show. Now, through a new National Institutes of Health effort called the 4D Nucleome, researchers will set out to develop more reliable, accurate, and affordable ways to map and interpret the genome's elaborate folds.