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Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2002 Oct;4(4):111-28.

Epigenomics: genome-wide study of methylation phenomena.

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Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.


Epigenetics is one of the key areas of future research that can elucidate how genomes work. It combines genetics and the environment to address complex biological systems such as the plasticity of our genome. While all nucleated human cells carry the same genome, they express different genes at different times. Much of this is governed by epigenetic changes resulting in differential methylation of our genome--or different epigenomes. Individual studies over the past decades have already established the involvement of DNA methylation in imprinting, gene regulation, chromatin structure, genome stability and disease, especially cancer. Now, in the wake of the Human Genome Project (HGP), epigenetic phenomena can be studied genome-wide and are giving rise to a new field, epigenomics. Here, we review the current and future potential of this field and introduce the pilot study towards the Human Epigenome Project (HEP).

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