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How Cells Get Their Identity

Liver, muscle, blood, and all other cells in the body have the same set of genes, yet each looks and functions differently. Specialization is driven by regulatory DNA that helps determine which genes are turned on and when. That regulatory DNA includes promoters, which are located at the start of the gene, and enhancers, which can sit some distance away. Now, an international team led by Japanese researchers has developed comprehensive atlases of the promoters and enhancers, The Scientist reports today. The atlases were published online today in Nature, with several more papers in other journals making use of these atlases.

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