DNA in eukaryotic cells does not exist as a naked molecule but is rather highly compacted into repeated protein-DNA nucleosome complexes, collectively known as chromatin. Weizmann researchers have shown that part of the information that dictates the positions of nucleosomes along the genome is encoded in the DNA sequence itself, through a previously unidentified type of genomic code. The unraveled code can be used to predict where nucleosomes will be positioned on any DNA sequence.
Further work has suggested that genomes have utilized this nucleosome positioning code throughout their evolution to facilitate many chromosome functions, including for determining when and where to activate their genes, and in directing DNA-binding proteins to their appropriate sites in the genome.
Weizmann scientists have made numerous contributions to the field of computational biology, including in deciphering various DNA codes that determine how and when genes are activated within cells; in understanding the three-dimensional organization of DNA within cells and the functional consequences of this organization; and in development of "biomolecular computers" capable of performing various computations within cells that detect molecular disease markers.