In DepthGenomics

New database links regulatory DNA to its target genes

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Science  08 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6235, pp. 618-619
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6235.618

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Scientists have known for years that the genome is riddled with sequences that control gene activity and is not just made up of genes. This extra layer of complexity has hampered searches for the genetic basis of diseases and for drugs that would target just the DNA at fault. In the past few months, however, several major research consortia have delivered what amount to users' manuals for the genome, mapping the locations of thousands of those switches, the specific genes they control, and where in the body they are turned on or off. The latest and arguably boldest of these big biology efforts has now analyzed genetic material gleaned from more than 100 people who had died just hours before. Together with three other projects, the Genotype-Tissue Expression project provides some hope that this complexity can eventually be understood.