The term epigenome refers to chemical modifications of DNA and proteins that control the structure and regulation of the “genome”, a term referring to all the DNA within our cells. In contrast to the genome, which changes very little if at all over the course of an individuals’ life, the epigenome is dynamic and changes during normal development, aging, disease challenges, and in response to various external stimuli. An understanding of the epigenome and how it works in different cell types is critically important to understanding many aspects of human health and disease.
This platform is a follow-on investment to the previously supported “The Centre for Epigenome Mapping Technologies (CEMT)” within Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. Through the previous platform, Drs. Hirst, Marra and Jones have created a team of scientific, technical and project management staff to develop and operate an epigenome mapping pipeline using the Illumina massively parallel sequencing platform and state of the art bioinformatics infrastructure. This platform has resulted in significant data, biospecimens, and a set of 42 complete, high quality reference epigenomes. This follow-on investment aims to make this platform available to the broader Canadian epigenetic research community to enable the generation of reference epigenomes and targeted epigenetic datasets and revolutionize our understanding of the role played by the epigenome in health and diseases.