IN 3D MAPS OF THE FOLDED GENOME, A CATALOG OF 10,000 LOOPS REVEALS A NEW FORM OF GENETIC REGULATION
In a triumph for cell biology, researchers have assembled the first high-resolution, 3D maps of entire folded genomes and found a structural basis for gene regulation—a kind of "genomic origami" that allows the same genome to produce different types of cells. The research appears online today in Cell.
A central goal of the five-year project, a collaboration between researchers at Harvard University, Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, was to identify the loops in the human genome. Loops form when two bits of DNA that are far apart in the genome sequence end up in close contact in the folded version of the genome in a cell's nucleus.