Scientists unveil map of human epigenomes in effort to fight disease

February 18, 2015 9:24 PM

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As it turns out, reading that instruction book and carrying out its directives are controlled by chemical markers that attach to DNA to activate or silence genes. These chemical markers, known as the epigenome, vary vastly from one cell type to another and, when disrupted, can play a role in the onset of many diseases, from cancer and Alzheimer's disease to diabetes and autism. Probing the epigenome could improve scientists' understanding of the molecular basis of disease and lead to new treatments.

Now, for the first time, researchers have assembled a comprehensive map of the human epigenome. The mapping, by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and other institutions, includes detailed descriptions of the epigenetic markers in 111 types of cells and tissues. Part...

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