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ENCODE pilot Nature paper abstract

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We report the generation and analysis of functional data from multiple, diverse experiments performed on a targeted 1% of the human genome as part of the pilot phase of the ENCODE Project. These data have been further integrated and augmented by a number of evolutionary and computational analyses. Together, our results advance the collective knowledge about human genome function in several major areas. First, our studies provide convincing evidence that the genome is pervasively transcribed, such that the majority of its bases can be found in primary transcripts, including non-protein-coding transcripts, and those that extensively overlap one another. Second, systematic examination of transcriptional regulation has yielded new understanding about transcription start sites, including their relationship to specific regulatory sequences and features of chromatin accessibility and histone modification. Third, a more sophisticated view about chromatin structure has emerged, including its interrelationship with DNA replication and transcriptional regulation. Finally, integration of these new sources of information, in particular with respect to mammalian evolution based on inter- and intra-species sequence comparisons, has yielded novel mechanistic and evolutionary insights about the functional landscape of the human genome. Together, these studies are defining a path forward to pursue a more-comprehensive characterisation of human genome function.