Orchestrating Genetic Expression | April 6, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 14 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 14 | Web Exclusive
Issue Date: April 6, 2009

Orchestrating Genetic Expression

Epigenetic modifications alter chromatin landscape, turn genes on and off
Department: Science & Technology

Without changing a single genetic letter in a multi-billion-letter genome, chemical modifications of chromatin, the macromolecular stage inside a cell's nucleus that bears DNA and that constitutes chromosomes, play genes like notes in a life-long score. For the most part, that score is inherited at conception, but it also can be edited in two primary ways during gestation, early childhood, and perhaps throughout life, and can even be passed down to the next generation.

One . . .

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