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New Genome Architecture Mapping Tool to Study Genome Interactions

In a new study appearing in Nature Methods, researchers from the Berlin Institute of Medical Systems Biology at the Max Delbrück Center describe a new technique based on the previously developed Genome Architecture Mapping (GAM) they've dubbed multiplex-GAM, which allows investigators to examine new and complex DNA interactions. The authors say that multiplex GAM brings a new way of looking at DNA interactions which was not possible with the currently popular genomic analysis technique Hi-C. In GAM, scientists take hundreds of thin slices of nuclei, each from individual cells and extract DNA from them which is sequenced and studied. However, in Hi-C, chromatin is cut into pieces using enzymes and then glued together again in such a way that two-way DNA interactions are revealed upon sequencing, which offers a limited view. The researchers say the differences between the techniques can be imagined as differences one would see on a color TV versus a black and white one. "With a black-and-white TV, you can see the shapes, but everything looks grey," co-author Ana Pombo, head of the epigenetic regulation and chromatin architecture laboratory at the Max Delbrück Center, says in a statement. "But if you have a color TV and look at flowers, you realize that they are red, yellow, and white and we were unaware of it. Similarly, there's also information in the way the genome is folded in three-dimensions that we have not been aware of."