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2004 | 51 | 1 | 1-8
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DNA microarrays, a novel approach in studies of chromatin structure.

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The DNA microarray technology delivers an experimental tool that allows surveying expression of genetic information on a genome-wide scale at the level of single genes - for the new field termed functional genomics. Gene expression profiling - the primary application of DNA microarrays technology - generates monumental amounts of information concerning the functioning of genes, cells and organisms. However, the expression of genetic information is regulated by a number of factors that cannot be directly targeted by standard gene expression profiling. The genetic material of eukaryotic cells is packed into chromatin which provides the compaction and organization of DNA for replication, repair and recombination processes, and is the major epigenetic factor determining the expression of genetic information. Genomic DNA can be methylated and this modification modulates interactions with proteins which change the functional status of genes. Both chromatin structure and transcriptional activity are affected by the processes of replication, recombination and repair. Modified DNA microarray technology could be applied to genome-wide study of epigenetic factors and processes that modulate the expression of genetic information. Attempts to use DNA microarrays in studies of chromatin packing state, chromatin/DNA-binding protein distribution and DNA methylation pattern on a genome-wide scale are briefly reviewed in this paper.
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