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Cell. 2015 Mar 12;160(6):1049-59. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.040.

The role of chromosome domains in shaping the functional genome.

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Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC), 1 rue Laurent Fries, 67404 Illkirch, France. Electronic address:
Institute of Human Genetics (IGH), 141 rue de la Cardonille, 34396 Montpellier, France. Electronic address:


The genome must be highly compacted to fit within eukaryotic nuclei but must be accessible to the transcriptional machinery to allow appropriate expression of genes in different cell types and throughout developmental pathways. A growing body of work has shown that the genome, analogously to proteins, forms an ordered, hierarchical structure that closely correlates and may even be causally linked with regulation of functions such as transcription. This review describes our current understanding of how these functional genomic "secondary and tertiary structures" form a blueprint for global nuclear architecture and the potential they hold for understanding and manipulating genomic regulation.

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