Human brain samples yield a genomic trove

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Science  14 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6420, pp. 1227
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6420.1227

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Researchers in the 3-year-old PsychENCODE Consortium have assembled a trove of genomic data from more than 2000 human brain samples that they hope will yield insights into the mechanisms behind neuropsychiatric disorders such as bipolar, schizophrenia, and autism. The consortium focuses on regulatory regions of DNA, which control the expression of protein-coding genes, and which previous studies implicated as drivers of psychiatric disease risk. PsychENCODE collaborators have cataloged differences in the activity of these regulatory genes in different parts of the brain, at different stages of brain development, and in brains affected by different diseases. The result, outlined this week in a series of papers in Science and its sister journals Science Advances and Science Translational Medicine, is the most complete picture yet of how regulatory regions influence the brain.