Rome, February 18 - The most comprehensive information so far into the human epigenome - chemical compounds that modify or mark human DNA to give it instructions about how to perform - was released to the public on Wednesday in a free online database and in 24 articles published by the Nature group of scientific magazines. The research is a product of the Roadmap Epigenomics Program, an 2008 initiative funded by the U.S. government at a cost of 240 million dollars, planned to last 10 years. This release of information about the human epigenome is being hailed as the most important discovery into human genetics since the 2001 publishing of the first draft of the human genome, the chemical sequences that make up DNA. Researchers hope epigenomic information will help cure and prevent diseases like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and Alzheimer's by decoding how the epigenome operates on human DNA.
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