The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) launched a public research consortium named ENCODE, the Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements, in 2003, with the goal of understanding the DNA grammar of non-coding sequences, which constitutes 98% of the human genome. A new round of funding for five centers was announced on February 2nd to expand this flagship program.
Two of our IHG faculty members, Drs. Nadav Ahituv and Yin Shen, will lead two of the five new “characterization centers” to study how non-coding regulatory elements influence gene expression and, consequently, cell behavior. The Ahituv and Shen labs will be employing novel techniques to study enhancers, which play a critical role in gene expression.
The work of Drs. Ahituv and Shen epitomizes how basic characterization of the human genome and its expression can lead to a fuller understanding of how disease develops and to potential treatment strategies. Hearty congratulations to Nadav and Yin!