Cancer epigenetics: Breakthrough in identifying target genes
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Cancer is usually attributed to faulty genes, but growing evidence from the field of cancer epigenetics indicates a key role for the gene "silencing" proteins that turn genes off inside the cell nucleus. A new study from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) promises to speed research in the field by rapidly identifying the genes epigenetic proteins can target for silencing. The study shows how a new computer program called EpiPredictor can search any genome to identify specific genes affected by epigenetic proteins. "Cancer epigenetics is a new field, and we are still struggling with the basics," said lead investigator Jianpeng Ma, professor of bioengineering at Rice and the Lodwick T. Bolin Professor of Biochemistry at BCM. "It's something like a board game. Until now, we've understood some of the rules and seen a few of the pieces, but the game board itself has been mostly blank."
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