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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

A 3D Map Reveals DNA Organization Within Human Retina Cells

NEI researchers mapped the organization of human retinal cell chromatin, the fibers that package 3 billion nucleotide-long DNA molecules into compact structures that fit into chromosomes within each cell’s nucleus. The resulting comprehensive gene regulatory network provides insights into regulation of gene expression in general, and in retinal function, in both rare and common eye diseases. The study was published in Nature Communications.

“This is the first detailed integration of retinal regulatory genome topology with genetic variants associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma, two leading causes of vision loss and blindness,” said the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Anand Swaroop, senior investigator and chief of the Neurobiology Neurodegeneration and Repair Laboratory at NEI.

“Having such a high-resolution picture of genomic architecture will continue to provide insights into the genetic control of tissue-specific functions,” Swaroop said.

The integrated genome regulatory map will also assist in evaluating genes associated with other common retina-associated diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, determining missing heritability and understanding genotype-phenotype correlations in inherited retinal and macular diseases. For more, see Mapping Human Retinal Cells.

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