Bradley E. Bernstein talks
with ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions
about this month's New Hot Paper in the field of Molecular
Biology & Genetics.
Article Title: Genome-wide maps of chromatin state
in pluripotent and lineage-committed cells
Authors: Mikkelsen, TS;Ku, MC;Jaffe, DB;Issac, B;Lieberman,
E;Giannoukos, G;Alvarez, P;Brockman, W;Kim, TK;Koche,
RP;Lee, W;Mendenhall, E;O'Donovan, A;Presser, A;Russ,
Meissner, A;Wernig, M;Jaenisch, R;Nusbaum,
Year: AUG 2 2007
* Harvard Univ, Broad Inst, Cambridge, MA 02142 USA.
(addresses have been truncated)
Why do you think your paper is highly
The paper describes the development and application of a new
sequencing-based technology for obtaining genome-wide views of chromatin
structure. The technology is of general interest across different fields,
and the acquired datasets and biological findings are also relevant to
several areas of biology.
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
It describes a new technology for genome-wide analysis of chromatin, and
new findings on the chromatin landscape of pluripotent and differentiating
embryonic stem cells.
Would you summarize the significance of your paper
in layman's terms?
A global understanding of how DNA is organized and regulated is essential
to an eventual understanding of how our genomes work. This paper presents a
new tool for studying DNA organization and structure, and its application
to stem cells.
How did you become involved in this research, and
were there any problems along the way?
We had been studying chromatin structure for many years. We had previously
relied on microarray-based methods, but these had several limitations.
Recent innovations in sequencing technology enabled us to develop this new
technique which overcomes many, but certainly not all, of these
Where do you see your research leading in the
We hope to understand how regulation of the genome by chromatin guides and
reinforces cell fate decisions during mammalian development.
Do you foresee any social or political
implications for your research?
It reinforces the importance of environmental and lineage-specific cues in
regulating gene function.
Bradley E. Bernstein, Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School and Broad Institute
Cambridge, MA, USA
Keywords: sequencing-based technology, genome-wide analysis of
chromatin structure, pluripotent and differentiating embryonic stem
cells, chromatin structure.