NYSCF — Robertson Stem Cell investigator Charts DNA

Only a small portion of genes is active in a cell at any one time. Special molecules, known as methyl markers, help regulate certain genes, playing an essential role in cell development and identity. Significantly, diseased and healthy cells differ in where these markers are added to DNA, which, in turn, affects gene expression. Alex Meissner, PhD, a NYSCF — Robertson Stem Cell Investigator at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and his team charted the methylation patterns across the full genome of 30 cells, including adult healthy or diseased cells and stem cells. He found that the quantity and pattern of methyl markers differed by cell types. As researchers try to identify early-stage indicators of disease, this methylation map could be an important tool.