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Mechanisms of gene regulation explained to undergraduates in new textbook

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A new undergraduate textbook on the mechanisms of gene regulation came in handy for students taking Professor Carsten Carlberg’s lecture course “Molecular Medicine and Genetics” at the University of Eastern Finland this autumn. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the course was held online, but to facilitate learning by distance, the students were given a proof of the book Mechanisms of Gene Regulation: How Science works, now published by Springer.

This book, together with Carlberg’s earlier book Human Epigenetics: How Science works, were designed to be used as the main basis of the course far before the occurrence of the new coronavirus. However, according to student feedback, they also facilitated learning by distance, complementing the audiovisual course material.

In their new book, Professor Carlberg and Associate Professor Ferdinand Molnár of Nazarbayev University aim to describe the fascinating area of eukaryotic gene regulation for graduate students in all areas of biomedical sciences. ”We hope our readers will enjoy this rather visual book and get as enthusiastic about gene regulation as we are.”

Gene expression is essential in shaping the various cell and tissue phenotypes. Thus, its regulation is a fundamental aspect of most processes in physiology, both in health and in disease. These processes are in part very dynamic and respond to daily challenges, such as diet or infections. “Therefore, all students of biomedical disciplines will benefit from being introduced to the concepts of gene regulation. A complete understanding of transcription factors and the processes that alter their activity is a fundamental goal of modern life science research,” the authors point out.

The availability of the whole human genome sequence and the development of next-generation sequencing technologies have significantly changed nearly all areas of the biological sciences. For example, the genome-wide location of histone modifications and transcription factor binding sites provided by big biology projects has greatly improved the understanding of gene regulation. Therefore, the book focuses on the post-genome understanding of gene regulation, examining it from the perspectives of transcription factors, chromatin, and non-coding RNA.

”When I was myself student in the 80s, I primarily learned from textbooks. Thus, my motivation to write this and other books was to provide something that I would have loved to have some 35 years ago,” Professor Carlberg says.

The new book represents an updated and simplified version of the authors’ earlier textbook, Mechanisms of Gene Regulation, to give an easier start on the topic. It also relates to their other textbooks, Human Epigenomics, Nutrigenomics and their condensed versions Human Epigenetics: How Science works and Nutrigenomics: How Science works.

Carsten Carlberg is Professor of Biochemistry at the Institute of Biomedicine at the UEF. His work focuses on mechanisms of gene regulation by nuclear hormones, in particular on vitamin D. At present he has projects on epigenome-wide effects of vitamin D on the human immune system. Ferdinand Molnár has done research at the UEF for over 10 years and is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Biology at the Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. His interests are integrative structural biology and bioinformatics, eukaryotic transcriptional regulation in health and disease, and recombinant protein production.

For further information, please contact:

Professor Carsten Carlberg, Carsten.carlberg (a) uef.fi, +358 403553062, https://uefconnect.uef.fi/en/person/carsten.carlberg/

Carlberg, Carsten & Molnár, Ferdinand. Mechanisms of Gene Regulation: How Science works. Springer 2020. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030523206