Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the blueprint on which life is based and transmitted, but the way in which chromatin-a dynamic complex of nucleic acids and proteins-is packaged and behaves in the cellular nucleus has only begun to be investigated. Epigenetic modifications sit 'on top of' the genome and affect how DNA is compacted into chromatin and transcribed into ribonucleic acid (RNA). The packaging and modifications around the genome have been shown to exert significant influence on cellular behaviour and, in turn, human development and disease. However, conventional techniques for studying epigenetic or conformational modifications of chromosomes have inherent limitations and, therefore, new methods based on micro- and nanoscale devices have been sought. Here, we review the development of these devices and explore their use in the study of DNA modifications, chromatin modifications and higher-order chromatin structures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Biomedical Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering