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Broad Institute awarded major grant to bolster epigenomics research
Date:9/30/2008

ctions. The answer lies mainly in the epigenome, a special code of chemical tags affixed to DNA or to its supporting proteins (known as "histones") that act as gatekeepers to the genome enabling genes to be switched on or ensuring they remain switched off. In the past few years, two techniques have transformed researchers' abilities to probe cells' epigenomes: ChIP-Seq and high-throughput bisulfite sequencing (HTBS). These technologies can help pinpoint the genomic locations of various types of chemical tags, such as methyl groups, and thus chart the epigenome.

The Reference Epigenome Mapping Center (REMC) at the Broad Institute will help create comprehensive, genome-scale maps of the epigenomes of a variety of cells, including human embryonic stem cells, various adult stem cells, and other key cell types. The researchers will survey both the DNA backbone and its accompanying histone proteins for chemical modifications using HTBS and ChIP-Seq respectively, which take advantage of the increased throughput and decreased cost of next-generation DNA sequencing, and provide unprecedented precision and genomic coverage.

Just as the Human Genome Project provided researchers with a draft genome sequence, the REMCs will help create draft epigenomic maps of a diverse set of cell types. Those data will serve as a vast resource for the scientific community to enhance the understanding of epigenetic mechanisms of disease, pinpoint novel molecular targets for therapy, complement ongoing investigations of the genetic susceptibilities of a wide range of diseases, and bolster current research in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

The NIH award to the Broad Institute represents one of four areas of epigenomic research to receive funding under the NIH Roadmap Epigenomics Program. In addition to the work of the epigenome mapping centers, other funded centers will focus on epigenomics data analysis and coordination, technology development in epige
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Contact: Nicole Davis
ndavis@broad.mit.edu
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Source:Eurekalert

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