Studying zebrafish embryos, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that the epigenome plays a significant part in guiding development in the first 24 hours after fertilization. The research may deepen understanding of congenital defects and miscarriage.
The genome is the instruction book for life. But reading that instruction book and carrying out its directives are controlled by the epigenome, which attaches chemical markers to DNA to activate or silence genes. For the first time, researchers at the School of Medicine and elsewhere have assembled a comprehensive map of the human epigenome.