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Epigenomics, Sanger Institute Launch First Phase of Human Epigenome Project

NEW YORK, Oct. 7 (GenomeWeb News) - Epigenomics and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said today that they have entered the first phase of the Human Epigenome Project (HEP) - an effort to map all the sites in the human genome where cytosine bases are modified by DNA methylation.

The announcement follows the completion of an HEP pilot project that studied methylation patterns within the Major Histocompatibility Complex in chromosome 6 to determine the methylation status of over 100,000 sites. Data from the pilot study, which was funded by the European Union, was released today on the HEP's website.

DNA methylation is one of the most important regulators of gene activity, according to the HEP partners, and plays an important role in normal development, as well as many cancers and some developmental disorders such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Angelman syndrome.

Commercial and academic partners will supply tissue samples for the project. Epigenomics will prepare the tissue samples with its high-throughput methylation analysis technology before they undergo sequencing by the Sanger Institute.

The methylation data will be integrated with the human genome sequence using the Ensembl interface and publicly released at www.epigenome.org and at www.sanger.ac.uk/epigenome. The data release policy for the project is available here.

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