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The genome sequence determines which proteins organisms can produce, while the epigenetic code often regulates where and when proteins are made. The epigenetic code includes chemical alterations of DNA as well as of histone proteins that bind to DNA. Francis has discovered a protein complex that can methylate a specific part of histone H3. In addition to his work on epigenetic regulation, Francis is developing advanced technology for genetic engineering, inserting, altering and removing genes from cells, which is being applied to examine roles of epigenetic regulation in mammalian development, stem cells, ageing and disease.