Scientists Map Human Genome In 3D Using ChIA-PET Technology
Researchers have completed a study of the human genome, revealing how genes interact with each other from distances that are relatively far apart.
AsianScientist (Feb. 10, 2012) – An international team of researchers has completed a study on the spatial and structural configuration of the human genome, revealing how genes interact and influence each other, even when they are located far apart.
The discovery, led by Dr. Yijun Ruan at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), was published in the latest issue of the journal Cell.
Using ChIA-PET, a genomic technology invented by Dr. Ruan and his team, the Singapore-led international group uncovered some of the fundamental mechanisms that regulate the gene expression in human cells.
“It had been viewed that genes in higher organisms were individually expressed, while multiple related genes in low organisms like bacteria were arranged linearly together as operon and transcribed in single unit,” Dr. Ruan said.
Ruan and colleagues showed that although genes are located far away from each other in the human genome, related genes are organized topologically through long-range chromatin interactions and higher-order chromosomal conformations, akin to the bacteria operon system for transcription regulation.
Describing ChIA-PET as ‘telescope for exploration of the human genome,’ Dr. Edward Rubin, Director of the Joint Genome Institute in the U.S., said that the study revealed in three-dimensions how genes separated linearly by enormous distances in the human genome could associate with each other in the cell upon activation.
Ruan’s group is part of the ENCODE (ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements) consortium. Set up in 2003, the ENCODE project aims to discover all functional elements in the human genome towards a deeper understanding of human biology and disease.
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