Scientists at Cambridge University and the Babraham Institute have demonstrated a new technique that could improve epigenetics research and help scientists better understand how cells develop and function. Epigenetics is a branch of genetics that studies modifications to the DNA that affect gene activity. All cells in the body have the same DNA sequence, or genome, but the interpretation of this sequence leads to the formation of different cells types. The research team invented a new technique to allow the recently discovered base 5-hydroxymethyl-cytosine (5hmC), a DNA chemical modification believed to be important to stem cell function, to be sequenced in DNA at single base resolution. “Sequencing DNA is becoming an increasingly important part of science and medicine and we are pleased to have met the challenge of finding a way to sequence this important new base modification,” Michael Booth, co-inventor of the technique, said.
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK