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NHGRI Announces that the Human Genome is Packed with At Least 4,000,000 Gene Switches


On September 6, 2012 ENCODE, the Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements, a project of The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health, involving 442 scientists from 32 laboratories around the world, published  six papers in the journal Nature and in 24 papers in Genome Research and Genome Biology.

Among the overall results of the project to date was the monumental conclusion that:

"The human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were dismissed as “junk” but that turn out to play critical roles in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. The discovery, considered a major medical and scientific breakthrough, has enormous implications for human health because many complex diseases appear to be caused by tiny changes in hundreds of gene switches" (, accessed 09-09-2012).

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