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Trends Genet. 2013 Jan;29(1):11-22. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.09.007. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Deciphering the transcriptional cis-regulatory code.

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  • 1Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), 1030 Vienna, Austria.


Information about developmental gene expression resides in defined regulatory elements, called enhancers, in the non-coding part of the genome. Although cells reliably utilize enhancers to orchestrate gene expression, a cis-regulatory code that would allow their interpretation has remained one of the greatest challenges of modern biology. In this review, we summarize studies from the past three decades that describe progress towards revealing the properties of enhancers and discuss how recent approaches are providing unprecedented insights into regulatory elements in animal genomes. Over the next years, we believe that the functional characterization of regulatory sequences in entire genomes, combined with recent computational methods, will provide a comprehensive view of genomic regulatory elements and their building blocks and will enable researchers to begin to understand the sequence basis of the cis-regulatory code.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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