These widgets are collectively called the epigenome, because they provide a level of control in addition to, or beyond, the level provided by the genome. Whereas the genome is the same in every cell of an organism, the epigenome of every cell type is different. It is because of the epigenome that a liver cell is not a brain cell is not a bone cell.
By 2007, ENCODE had analyzed the epigenetics of about one percent of the human genome and published the results in Nature and a special issue of Genome Research.
To speed things up, the National Institutes of Health funded modENCODE to work out the epigenetics of the fruit fly and the round worm C. elegans.
Both organisms, which have much smaller genomes, will provide reference points for the more intimidating project of unraveling the much larger human epigenetic system. They also provide a quick and relatively easy way of verifying hypotheses arising out of the ENCODE data.
The first results from the modENCODE projects, which were divided among 11 teams, have just been published in Science and Nature. Many more papers are forthcoming.
Led by Gary Karpen of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and the University of California at Berkeley, the modENCODE chromatin group includes teams led by Washington University's Elgin, Mitzi Kuroda of Harvard Medical School, Peter Park of Harvard Medical School and Vince Pirrotta of Rutgers University. Elgin's team is made up of Nicole C. Riddle, PhD, research assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences; Tingting Gu, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in biology; Sarah Gadel and Sarah Marchetti, lab technicians.
Karpen's team has just published a comprehensive description of the chromatin landscape of the fruit fly genome in Nature, which provides a representative example of the science coming from the larger undertak
|Contact: Diana Lutz|
Washington University in St. Louis