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Chromosomes show off their shapes
Date:11/25/2013

sequences into reliable maps describing contacts between genes along individual chromosomes. Given these maps, the team, in collaboration with Dr. Ernest Laue of Cambridge University, was able to produce 3-D models of individual chromosome structures.

Interestingly, the new high resolution depictions of chromosomal architecture indicate that the structure of the same DNA molecule can vary markedly between different cells. At the same time, the results point to some basic principles that underlie the genes' organization. Their arrangement appears to be modular and based on the functions of the thousands of genes embedded within each chromosome. The data suggests that chromosomes expose the more active genes at their boundaries, possibly allowing these genes better access to the cellular machinery that regulates them.

Besides giving us a unique, surprising view of the structure of the chromosomes in our cells, the researchers believe that their method will present genetics research with a powerful new tool. For example, it may help uncover the variations in genetic activity between different types of cells, or promote understanding of the mechanisms determining gene activity or quiescence in various normal or disease conditions. The rapidly increasing power of massive DNA sequencing promises to make studies such as this even more powerful in the near future.


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Contact: Yivsam Azgad
news@weizmann.ac.il
972-893-43856
Weizmann Institute of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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