Brona McVittie reports :: December 2006

Housekeeping normally keeps us from socialising, but for housekeeping genes, the opposite seems to be true. So-called because their employment contract extends to all body cells, housekeeping genes make contact with a whole host of other active genes in the nucleus of cells. Wouter de Laat (Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands) reports in Nature Genetics on a fantastic new method of visualising the 3D arrangement of DNA in the cell nucleus: 4C technology, which promises to cast light on social interactions between different regions of the genome. Wouter notes that quiet (inactive) genes tend to make contact with each other, unlike their busy counterparts. So birds of a feather flock together.

Wouter’s latest publication