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Scientists Map Genetic Network’s Response to DNA-Damaging Agents

Using a new technology called “differential epistasis maps,” an international team of scientists, led by researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, has documented for the first time how a cellular genetic network completely rewires itself in response to stress by DNA-damaging agents.

According to an announcement from UCSD, the research — to be published in the Dec. 3 issue of Science Magazine — is significant because it represents a major technological leap forward from simply compiling lists of genes in an organism to describing how these genes actively work together.

“Epistasis” refers to the interaction of genes and how they suppress, amplify or alter each other’s functions.

“Cell behavior is dynamic, but the genetic networks that govern these behaviors have been studied mostly only under normal, benign laboratory conditions,” said Trey Ideker, Ph.D., professor of medicine and bioengineering and chief of the division of medical genetics at the school of medicine. “This work is the next milestone.”

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences funded the study.

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