• The Cornell study focuses on a specific modification of the histone protein H3. Histone proteins, which are like spools in which DNA is the thread, are essential for packaging DNA in cells. 
  • For their study, the researchers profiled a genomewide pattern of the H3 modification, and then profiled the expression of all genes in young and old nematodes. They found that when genes wrapped around H3 proteins, if the modification existed at low levels, expression of those genes tended to fluctuate with age. Expression of genes that wrapped around high levels of the same modification remained stable with age.
  • The next step will be to test whether the findings in nematodes and fruit flies hold true for mammals and humans. Even though the H3 modification is found in many different cells, including human cells, not much is known about its functions. Future study could add to fundamental understanding of gene regulation.

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