Researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine's Erez Lieberman Aiden used in situ Hi-C to develop three-dimensional maps of nine different cell types.
As they report in Cell this week, Lieberman Aiden and his colleagues found that the folding of the genome creates some 10,000 loops that bring together promoters and enhancers and that are correlated with gene activation. These loops also appear to be conserved in different cell types and species.
"More and more, we're realizing that folding is regulation," says co-first author Suhas Rao from Baylor in a statement. "When you see genes turn on or off, what lies behind that is a change in folding. It's a different way of thinking about how cells work."
In the following video, the researchers describe the 'origami' of the genome.