As sequencing genomes becomes faster and cheaper, more sophisticated informatics tools are needed to answer more intractable questions about the intricacies of genetic regulation. Currently, scientists are able to determine which regions of the genomes are coding regions, or genes, by their easily recognizable syntax of coding for amino acids, but the patterning of non-coding regulatory regions, such as enhancer sequences, is still very much a mystery. Enhancers can either repress or activate gene expression, and mutations in enhancers are associated with developmental problems in many species, including genetic diseases in humans. Considering the dramatic influence enhancers have on development, we are learning how to identify them in a genome and attempting further analyses. Are there common rules that govern enhancer sequence architecture? This project aims to answer these exciting questions.
This project was originally launched as part of UC Berkeley's Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP). It is currently full and no new students are being accepted for the 2019-2020 academic year.