The human genome is often called the ‘blueprint’ for our bodies because the instructions to create a full human body from a fertilized egg are present within our DNA sequences. The difference between the various cells of our body and the important functions that they fulfill comes not from their content of DNA, but rather, how each cell uses the DNA that it contains. Each cellular distinction within the human body can be traced directly to transcriptional regulation, or differential use of the genome. Factors ranging from the course of progression during early stages of development, to environmental response under a myriad of conditions, are mechanisms encompassed by the field of transcriptional control.
The Weill Cornell Department of Genetic Medicine places great emphasis on avenues of research that address these conversions of DNA to RNA (transcription). Our department investigators conduct cutting-edge research that revolves around a variety of transcriptional regulation subjects, including:
- transcription factor expression and function
- DNA methylation as a controlling factor for transcription
- intracellular and extracellular mechanisms that lead to changes in gene expression