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As in other organisms, the DNA of yeast cells is packaged into a structure called chromatin by histone proteins. Altering chromatin structure by chemically modifying DNA or histones can determine which genes are switched on and off. Such alterations can be transmitted to new cells even though their genetic code is unchanged, and are therefore epigenetic. If they go wrong, epigenetic changes can lead to cancer in humans. Fred uses baker’s yeast as a model organism to study such epigenetic changes and he has identified a protein called DOT1 that can chemically modify histones by methylation, thereby silencing genes.