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      A User's Guide to the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE)

      The ENCODE Project Consortium *

      PLoS Biology

      Public Library of Science

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          The mission of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project is to enable the scientific and medical communities to interpret the human genome sequence and apply it to understand human biology and improve health. The ENCODE Consortium is integrating multiple technologies and approaches in a collective effort to discover and define the functional elements encoded in the human genome, including genes, transcripts, and transcriptional regulatory regions, together with their attendant chromatin states and DNA methylation patterns. In the process, standards to ensure high-quality data have been implemented, and novel algorithms have been developed to facilitate analysis. Data and derived results are made available through a freely accessible database. Here we provide an overview of the project and the resources it is generating and illustrate the application of ENCODE data to interpret the human genome.

          Author Summary

          The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project was created to enable the scientific and medical communities to interpret the human genome sequence and to use it to understand human biology and improve health. The ENCODE Consortium, a large group of scientists from around the world, uses a variety of experimental methods to identify and describe the regions of the 3 billion base-pair human genome that are important for function. Using experimental, computational, and statistical analyses, we aimed to discover and describe genes, transcripts, and transcriptional regulatory regions, as well as DNA binding proteins that interact with regulatory regions in the genome, including transcription factors, different versions of histones and other markers, and DNA methylation patterns that define states of the genome in various cell types. The ENCODE Project has developed standards for each experiment type to ensure high-quality, reproducible data and novel algorithms to facilitate analysis. All data and derived results are made available through a freely accessible database. This article provides an overview of the complete project and the resources it is generating, as well as examples to illustrate the application of ENCODE data as a user's guide to facilitate the interpretation of the human genome.

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          Most cited references 80

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          Global variation in copy number in the human genome.

          Copy number variation (CNV) of DNA sequences is functionally significant but has yet to be fully ascertained. We have constructed a first-generation CNV map of the human genome through the study of 270 individuals from four populations with ancestry in Europe, Africa or Asia (the HapMap collection). DNA from these individuals was screened for CNV using two complementary technologies: single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping arrays, and clone-based comparative genomic hybridization. A total of 1,447 copy number variable regions (CNVRs), which can encompass overlapping or adjacent gains or losses, covering 360 megabases (12% of the genome) were identified in these populations. These CNVRs contained hundreds of genes, disease loci, functional elements and segmental duplications. Notably, the CNVRs encompassed more nucleotide content per genome than SNPs, underscoring the importance of CNV in genetic diversity and evolution. The data obtained delineate linkage disequilibrium patterns for many CNVs, and reveal marked variation in copy number among populations. We also demonstrate the utility of this resource for genetic disease studies.
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            Genome-wide analysis of mammalian promoter architecture and evolution.

            Mammalian promoters can be separated into two classes, conserved TATA box-enriched promoters, which initiate at a well-defined site, and more plastic, broad and evolvable CpG-rich promoters. We have sequenced tags corresponding to several hundred thousand transcription start sites (TSSs) in the mouse and human genomes, allowing precise analysis of the sequence architecture and evolution of distinct promoter classes. Different tissues and families of genes differentially use distinct types of promoters. Our tagging methods allow quantitative analysis of promoter usage in different tissues and show that differentially regulated alternative TSSs are a common feature in protein-coding genes and commonly generate alternative N termini. Among the TSSs, we identified new start sites associated with the majority of exons and with 3' UTRs. These data permit genome-scale identification of tissue-specific promoters and analysis of the cis-acting elements associated with them.
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              High-resolution mapping and characterization of open chromatin across the genome.

              Mapping DNase I hypersensitive (HS) sites is an accurate method of identifying the location of genetic regulatory elements, including promoters, enhancers, silencers, insulators, and locus control regions. We employed high-throughput sequencing and whole-genome tiled array strategies to identify DNase I HS sites within human primary CD4+ T cells. Combining these two technologies, we have created a comprehensive and accurate genome-wide open chromatin map. Surprisingly, only 16%-21% of the identified 94,925 DNase I HS sites are found in promoters or first exons of known genes, but nearly half of the most open sites are in these regions. In conjunction with expression, motif, and chromatin immunoprecipitation data, we find evidence of cell-type-specific characteristics, including the ability to identify transcription start sites and locations of different chromatin marks utilized in these cells. In addition, and unexpectedly, our analyses have uncovered detailed features of nucleosome structure.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Biol
                plos
                plosbiol
                PLoS Biology
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1544-9173
                1545-7885
                April 2011
                April 2011
                19 April 2011
                : 9
                : 4
                Affiliations
                Adolf Butenandt Institute, Germany
                Author notes
                Article
                PBIOLOGY-D-10-00316
                10.1371/journal.pbio.1001046
                3079585
                21526222
                The ENCODE Project Consortium. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 21
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology
                Computational Biology
                Genetics
                Genomics

                Life sciences

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