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Step aside Marie Kondo, the genome is the real organizational expert

Memphis, Tennessee, September 4, 2019

Jackie Norrie, PhD, Marybeth Lupo, PhD, and Victoria Honnell read the latest findings

St. Jude scientists have used a 3D genome to improve understanding of gene regulation during development and disease. Pictured here,  left to right, are Jackie Norrie, Ph.D.; Marybeth Lupo, Ph.D.; and Victoria Honnell of the Department of Developmental Neurobiology.

When it comes to organizing, even experts like best-selling author Marie Kondo could learn from the genome. The genome is the blueprint for life. The blueprint is encoded in the DNA molecule. Human DNA from a single cell measures about 6 feet in length. Packaging turns it into a microscopic instruction manual that fits into the cell nucleus.

St. Jude researchers used the latest technology to make a 3D map of a mouse genome. The work focused on cells in the developing retina and revealed surprises about gene regulation. The map gives scientists a way to track how cells package DNA and how that packaging affects whether and when genes are expressed.

“Understanding the way cells organize their genomes during development will help us understand their ability to respond to stress, injury and disease,” said Michael Dyer, PhD, St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology chair and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

The researchers are using the same approach to study how the genome is organized in the cerebellum. That is where the most common malignant childhood brain tumor develops.

Study data and an instructional video are available to researchers worldwide. These are offered through St. Jude Cloud, an online, cloud-based data-sharing resource.

A report on this work appeared in the journal Neuron.

Read the full News Release.

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