A new chart of DNA’s loops and twists reveals its three-dimensional (3-D) structure in the developing brain. It shows that a genomic region involved in controlling gene expression may influence a gene located far away on a linear genome….
The findings have big implications for interpreting the role of genetic variants located between genes. For decades, researchers worked under the assumption that variants in noncoding regions control a gene closest to them, says lead investigator Daniel Geschwind, professor of neurology, psychiatry and human genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. The new study shows instead that these variants are “equally likely to be regulating something 100 kilobases away as they are the closest gene,” Geschwind says.
The researchers also looked at a set of 108 variants linked to schizophrenia, most of which do not land in genes. The 3-D map places these variants close to roughly 500 genes that are far away in linear space. Nearly one-third of the genes are adjacent to the schizophrenia variants in embryonic brain tissue but not in stem cells or lung tissue.
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