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Neuron. 2015 Jan 7;85(1):27-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.11.011.

Genomic perspectives of transcriptional regulation in forebrain development.

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Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95618, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Psychiatry, Rock Hall, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158-2324, USA.
Genomics Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, USA; School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced, Merced, CA 95343, USA.


The forebrain is the seat of higher-order brain functions, and many human neuropsychiatric disorders are due to genetic defects affecting forebrain development, making it imperative to understand the underlying genetic circuitry. Recent progress now makes it possible to begin fully elucidating the genomic regulatory mechanisms that control forebrain gene expression. Herein, we discuss the current knowledge of how transcription factors drive gene expression programs through their interactions with cis-acting genomic elements, such as enhancers; how analyses of chromatin and DNA modifications provide insights into gene expression states; and how these approaches yield insights into the evolution of the human brain.

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