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There is such a tangle in every core of our body cells. In reality, not so colorful, but packed so complex are all the chromosomes of our DNA in the nucleus. In this computer model, each chromosome is shown in a different color. Scientists led by Cristian Micheletti from the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste have succeeded in creating this finely structured 3D map on the computer. For this, the researchers have used various sources, such as statistical data, simulations and for the first time in vivo observations in laboratory experiments. "This model summarizes much of the knowledge we have about the organization of DNA in the nucleus, " says Marco Di Stefano, first author of the study, published in Nature .

The 3D model provides geneticists with important information about gene activity in our body. Because the linear sequence of DNA bases alone is not enough to understand the genome. The folding of up to two meters long chromosomes also influences gene activity. Therefore, researchers are trying to explore the three-dimensional genetic architecture as precisely as possible. Since the chromosomes are folded, sections lie side by side, which would be unfolded several million bases apart. Their actual neighborhood, however, affects gene activity.

Photo: Cristian Micheletti and Marco Di Stefano - SISSA

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