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Epigenomic Exploration of the Human Brain 

Epigenomic Exploration of the Human Brain
Chapter:
Epigenomic Exploration of the Human Brain
Author(s):

Tobias B. Halene

, Gregor Hasler

, Amanda Mitchell

, and Schahram Akbarian

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190221973.003.0010
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date: 20 November 2019

The exploration of the epigenome has become a flourishing area in the neurosciences. Scientists increasingly appreciate that even the position of genetic material within the nucleus is purposeful, and its spatial orientation conveys information with critical influence on transcription, genome integrity, and stability. Together, epigenetic and three-dimensional genome data hold promise to reveal how DNA variants and mutations come into play in brain disease. Powerful new technologies can now map transcriptome, DNA-methylome, and other epigenetic regulators on the level of single brain cells. Many of these findings are limited to preclinical studies. Nevertheless, the advent of chromatin-modifying drugs in cancer therapy and the discovery that approved medications such as valproic acid and lithium have a chromatin-modifying effect have spurred hopes for improved biological therapies. Here we summarize current concepts and emerging insights into epigenetic regulation, with a focus on human brain and the neurobiology and pharmacology of psychiatric disorders.

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