Genome Changes Mapped In Humans

February 18, 2015 6:27 PM

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Researchers reported this week that a DNA-methylation gene called uhrf1 is a molecular trigger for inflammatory bowel disease (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2015, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1424089112). It was already known that immunity and genetics played a role in the disease. “But we’ve found that it is not just the immune genes themselves but also the regulation of those genes through epigenetics that can cause problems,” said corresponding author and Duke University cell biologist Michel Bagnat.

The finding is just one example of the importance of epigenetics, or epigenomics—the study of how modifications to a cell’s genome can influence human development, health, and disease. If a series of studies published last week in Nature and several other Nature research journals are any indication,...

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