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a catalog of biological databases

e.g., animal; RNA; Methylation; China

Database Profile


General information

Full name: Human Epigenome Project
Description: The Human Epigenome Project (HEP) aims to identify, catalogue and interpret genome-wide DNA methylation patterns of all human genes in all major tissues.
Year founded: 1999
Last update:
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Country/Region: United Kingdom
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Contact information

University/Institution: Wellcome Sanger Institute
Country/Region: United Kingdom
Contact name (PI/Team): Stephan Beck
Contact email (PI/Helpdesk):


DNA methylation profiling of the human major histocompatibility complex: a pilot study for the human epigenome project. [PMID: 15550986]
Rakyan VK, Hildmann T, Novik KL, Lewin J, Tost J, Cox AV, Andrews TD, Howe KL, Otto T, Olek A, Fischer J, Gut IG, Berlin K, Beck S.

The Human Epigenome Project aims to identify, catalogue, and interpret genome-wide DNA methylation phenomena. Occurring naturally on cytosine bases at cytosine-guanine dinucleotides, DNA methylation is intimately involved in diverse biological processes and the aetiology of many diseases. Differentially methylated cytosines give rise to distinct profiles, thought to be specific for gene activity, tissue type, and disease state. The identification of such methylation variable positions will significantly improve our understanding of genome biology and our ability to diagnose disease. Here, we report the results of the pilot study for the Human Epigenome Project entailing the methylation analysis of the human major histocompatibility complex. This study involved the development of an integrated pipeline for high-throughput methylation analysis using bisulphite DNA sequencing, discovery of methylation variable positions, epigenotyping by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry, and development of an integrated public database available at Our analysis of DNA methylation levels within the major histocompatibility complex, including regulatory exonic and intronic regions associated with 90 genes in multiple tissues and individuals, reveals a bimodal distribution of methylation profiles (i.e., the vast majority of the analysed regions were either hypo- or hypermethylated), tissue specificity, inter-individual variation, and correlation with independent gene expression data.

PLoS Biol. 2004:2(12) | 199 Citations (from Europe PMC, 2021-06-19)
Future potential of the Human Epigenome Project. [PMID: 15347255]
Eckhardt F, Beck S, Gut IG, Berlin K.

Deciphering the information encoded in the human genome is key for the further understanding of human biology, physiology and evolution. With the draft sequence of the human genome completed, elucidation of the epigenetic information layer of the human genome becomes accessible. Epigenetic mechanisms are mediated by either chemical modifications of the DNA itself or by modifications of proteins that are closely associated with DNA. Defects of the epigenetic regulation involved in processes such as imprinting, X chromosome inactivation, transcriptional control of genes, as well as mutations affecting DNA methylation enzymes, contribute fundamentally to the etiology of many human diseases. Headed by the Human Epigenome Consortium, the Human Epigenome Project is a joint effort by an international collaboration that aims to identify, catalog and interpret genome-wide DNA methylation patterns of all human genes in all major tissues. Methylation variable positions are thought to reflect gene activity, tissue type and disease state, and are useful epigenetic markers revealing the dynamic state of the genome. Like single nucleotide polymorphisms, methylation variable positions will greatly advance our ability to elucidate and diagnose the molecular basis of human diseases.

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2004:4(5) | 26 Citations (from Europe PMC, 2021-06-19)
Analysis and accurate quantification of CpG methylation by MALDI mass spectrometry. [PMID: 12711695]
Tost J, Schatz P, Schuster M, Berlin K, Gut IG.

As the DNA sequence of the human genome is now nearly finished, the main task of genome research is to elucidate gene function and regulation. DNA methylation is of particular importance for gene regulation and is strongly implicated in the development of cancer. Even minor changes in the degree of methylation can have severe consequences. An accurate quantification of the methylation status at any given position of the genome is a powerful diagnostic indicator. Here we present the first assay for the analysis and precise quantification of methylation on CpG positions in simplex and multiplex reactions based on matrix-assisted laser desorption/ ionisation mass spectrometry detection. Calibration curves for CpGs in two genes were established and an algorithm was developed to account for systematic fluctuations. Regression analysis gave R(2) >or= 0.99 and standard deviation around 2% for the different positions. The limit of detection was approximately 5% for the minor isomer. Calibrations showed no significant differences when carried out as simplex or multiplex analyses. All variable parameters were thoroughly investigated, several paraffin-embedded tissue biopsies were analysed and results were verified by established methods like analysis of cloned material. Mass spectrometric results were also compared to chip hybridisation.

Nucleic Acids Res. 2003:31(9) | 65 Citations (from Europe PMC, 2021-06-19)
Epigenomics: genome-wide study of methylation phenomena. [PMID: 12432963]
Novik KL, Nimmrich I, Genc B, Maier S, Piepenbrock C, Olek A, Beck S.

Epigenetics is one of the key areas of future research that can elucidate how genomes work. It combines genetics and the environment to address complex biological systems such as the plasticity of our genome. While all nucleated human cells carry the same genome, they express different genes at different times. Much of this is governed by epigenetic changes resulting in differential methylation of our genome--or different epigenomes. Individual studies over the past decades have already established the involvement of DNA methylation in imprinting, gene regulation, chromatin structure, genome stability and disease, especially cancer. Now, in the wake of the Human Genome Project (HGP), epigenetic phenomena can be studied genome-wide and are giving rise to a new field, epigenomics. Here, we review the current and future potential of this field and introduce the pilot study towards the Human Epigenome Project (HEP).

Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2002:4(4) | 59 Citations (from Europe PMC, 2021-06-19)
From genomics to epigenomics: a loftier view of life. [PMID: 10585673]
Beck S, Olek A, Walter J.
Nat Biotechnol. 1999:17(12) | 41 Citations (from Europe PMC, 2021-06-19)


All databases:
492/5061 (90.298%)
Gene genome and annotation:
184/1350 (86.444%)
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Record metadata

Created on: 2018-02-09
Curated by:
Nashaiman Pervaiz [2018-12-28]
Hao Zhang [2018-02-28]
Yang Zhang [2018-02-09]