Back to Chromatin: ENCODE and the Dynamic Epigenome

Ehud Lamm*, Sophie Juliane Veigl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The “Encyclopedia of DNA Elements” (ENCODE) project was launched by the US National Human Genome Research Institute in the aftermath of the Human Genome Project (HGP). It aimed to systematically map the human transcriptome, and held the promise that identifying potential regulatory regions and transcription factor binding sites would help address some of the perplexing results of the HGP. Its initial results published in 2012 produced a flurry of high-impact publications as well as criticisms. Here we put the results of ENCODE and the work on epigenomics that followed in a broad theoretical and historical context, focusing on three strands of research. The first is the history of thinking about the organization of genomes, both physical and regulatory. The second is the history of ideas about gene regulation, primarily in eukaryotes. Finally, and connecting these two issues, we suggest how to think about the role of genetic material in physiology and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Theory
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Chromatin
  • ENCODE project
  • Epigenetics
  • Gene regulation
  • Genomics
  • Regulatory RNA
  • Transcriptomics


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