The Scientist - "Epigenetics Armed German E. coli"
Epigenetics may hold the answer to the virulent strain of E. coli that swept across Germany in May and June 2011, causing thousands of infections and dozens of deaths, according to a study published in Nature Biotechnology. At the time of the outbreak, researchers around the world worked furiously to sequence the genome of the unknown E. coli strain and identify its virulence secrets. The genome sequence alone could not explain the fast and furious outbreak. To get to the bottom of the mystery, Dr. Eric Schadt, director of Mount Sinai's Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, and colleagues took a second look at the genome, this time focusing not on the base pairs themselves, but on their epigenetic marks. Dr. Schadt said, "Without genome-wide DNA base modification information, you simply don't have a complete picture of all the variation and the phenotypic variability that we see." Learn more