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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 14:18 EDT
Genetic on-off switches pinpointed
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Genetic on-off switches pinpointed

January 13, 2014
In a step to decipher information in the human genome, scientists have discovered the location and sequence of over 10,000 DNA regions that function as genetic on-off switches, or "promoters," in human fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are relatively generic, easily maintained human cells that form connective tissues throughout the body. By knowing the specific sequences of DNA that control the nearly 8,000 active genes in fibroblasts, scientists can tease apart the biochemical regulation system these cells use to turn genes on and off during normal growth. The so-called "promoter map" will not only provide new insight into how genes are controlled in fibroblasts, but will also serve as a framework for analysis of genetic control in other human cell types, tissues and perhaps organs. This image accompanied NSF press release Genetic On-Off Switches Pinpointed in Human Genome. Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation