Studies to understand the formation and function of chromatin in highly repeated DNA sequences in eukaryotes.
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Our research focuses on understanding mechanisms that silence or repress molecular mechanisms at a highly repeated locus in a model eukaryote, baker's yeast. We study mechanisms that regulate the structure of chomosomes because it provides an opportunity to expand our knowledge of how chromosome structure impacts gene expression, genome stability and DNA replication in a eukaryotic organism that is experimentally tractable. Genome sequencing projects have found that more than 50% of the genome in higher eukaryotes, e.g., humans, is repetitive DNA sequences. A portion of the reetitive DNA is maintained as inactive or silent chromatin. Our work will enhance understanding of the characteristics and the regulation of the repetitive DNA, and provide insights into regulatory mechanisms that act at repetitive DNA sequences found in more complex eukaryotic organisms, like humans.