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Dec. 4, 2008 -- For years, scientists have struggled to decipher the genetic instruction book that details where and when the 20,000 genes in a human cell will be turned on or off. Different genes operate in each cell type at different times, and this careful orchestration is what ultimately distinguishes a brain cell from a liver or skin cell.
Now, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report they have developed a model of gene expression in yeast that predicts with a high degree of accuracy whether a gene will be switched on or off. The study is now available in the advance online publication of Nature.