Scientists Develop Method of Detecting DNA Regulatory Sites in Single Cells: Study Reduces Need for Millions of Cells in Some Analyses

Scientists have discovered a method for genome-wide detection of DNA regulatory sites by using single cells instead of millions of cells, which have been needed in older techniques. DNA regulatory sites help control gene expression — that is, the different types of proteins a cell makes. Gene expression, in turn, controls much of the character and activities of the cell — both normal and pathobiological processes.

The new technique, described in a recent article in Nature, helps scientists target specific regions called DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHSs), key genomic regulatory elements where chromatin — the complexes of DNA and proteins constituting chromosomes — is no longer condensed. In DHSs, chromatin is more extended and the enzyme DNase I can be used to essentially break open, or cleave, the DNA molecule exposing its regulatory regions.

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022