Gene expression is effectively controlled by chemically changing the DNA at specific sites, by means of DNA methylation. An entirely novel assay will be developed, as a cheap and efficient way of reading out these changes. This is done with the aid of an enzyme that specifically cuts sections of DNA with methyl groups out of the genome. Sequencing is then used to determine the exact position of these methylated sections of DNA.
The importance of a technique for reading out these changes is that it will help us to understand the role of DNA methylation in gene regulation in general. More specifically, it will improve our understanding of – and ability to predict – disease progression in bowel cancer and cervical cancer.