Journal Article

The necessity of a human epigenome project

Manel Esteller

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 27, issue 6, pages 1121-1125
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online May 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgl033
The necessity of a human epigenome project

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Epigenetics is one of the hottest topics in cancer research. We know that human tumors undergo a major disruption of their DNA methylation and histone modification patterns. The aberrant epigenetic landscape of the cancer cell is characterized by a massive genomic hypomethylation, CpG island promoter hypermethylation of tumor suppressor genes, an altered histone code for critical genes and a global loss of monoacetylated and trimethylated histone H4. But what we know is just a minimal percentage of the epigenetic ‘earthquake’ present in the transformed cell. We need to make an ambitious step to understand the DNA methylation and histone changes underlying tumorigenesis. The launching of an International Human Epigenome Project should be the response to this necessity.

Keywords: ATRX, X-linked form of syndromal retardation associated with alpha thalassemia; DNMT3b, DNA methyltransferase 3b; IAP, intracisternal A-particle; 5mC, 5-methylcytosine

Journal Article.  4310 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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