In the Nature journal, a 250-strong team of scientists from 20 countries working within the Riken Institute in Japan, has just published the first chart showing how human genes are regulated in various types of cells.
Alistair Forrest, Scientific Co-ordinator for FANTOM5 explained: "human beings are multicellular organisms comprising at least 400 different types of cell. This incredible diversity of cell types allows us to see, think, hear, move and fight infection – all this is encoded in the same genome". He went on to explain that the difference between the cells varies according to the part of the genome used by the cells. For example, the cells in the brain and the liver do not use the same type of genes. Therefore, the two types of cells do not operate in the same way.
Consequently, this work could help scientists to target genes related to certain diseases more effectively.