Visible gene regulation with 100 times higher accuracy

about the episode

Much of our genome is made up of regulatory parts. In other words: the elements that control which genes in the cell, when they are turned on and off, and to what extent.

One example of this regulatory component is the promoter: a piece of DNA that lies in front of a gene and can initiate the reading of that gene.

Sometimes parts of the control mechanism, such as this promoter, are located near the gene that is being controlled. Other parts that play a role in gene expression can have up to 2 million additional gene pairs. Interacting with the gene after that can be very difficult. Therefore, the genome is shaped into a three-dimensional structure for all epitopes to facilitate this.

Using new technology, the MIT researchers have now succeeded in imaging the interactions in this structure at 100 times higher resolution than before. In doing so, they immediately saw a lot of interactions that had never been seen before. They were also able to determine that some genes interact with dozens of different regulatory components.

In researching the genetic origin of diseases, it is also very important to understand these interactions. Despite the fact that this technique cannot image the entire genome at once, the researchers hope they have developed a valuable tool that will help advance research into how diseases arise and how to treat them.

Read more about research here: An unprecedented view of gene regulation.

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