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Year in review: Epigenome makes its debut

Chemical modifications bring DNA to life

6:56am, December 15, 2015

EPIGENOME DEBUT  Chemical modifications to DNA and histones can influence how genes are turned on and off during development and in health and disease. In 2015, scientists cataloged where these marks and others are made in human DNA.

In a landmark event more than a decade ago, geneticists unveiled the human genetic instruction book. This year, the book was turned into a movie adaptation in 3-D: Researchers cataloged how chemical modifications fold, compress and unwind the static DNA over time and how those modifications control when genes are on or off. 

The crew of researchers involved in the Roadmap Epigenomics Project premiered their findings in more than 20 scientific papers published in February (SN: 3/21/15, p. 6).

It was a blockbuster effort that would never make it in Hollywood. For one thing, it largely ignores the stars of the genome, the genes, and instead focuses on a dizzying cast of background characters known as

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