Biotechnology is often considered synonymous with the biomedical research, but there are many other industries which take advantage of biotech methods for studying, cloning and altering genes. We have become accustomed to the idea of enzymes in our everyday lives and many people are familiar with the controversies surrounding the use of GMOs in our foods. The agricultural industry is at the center of that debate, but since the days of George Washington Carver, agricultural biotech has been producing countless new products that have the potential to change our lives for the better.
The correlation between DNA methylation and chromatin structure, as it relates to transcriptional activity, is demonstrated by the observation that there are several proteins, that bind to methylated CpGs but not to unmethylated CpGs, whose functions are integrated into transcriptional regulation. There are currently 15 genes in the human genome that encode proteins that bind to methyl-CpG in DNA. These 15 proteins are divided into 3 subfamilies identified by structural similarities. These sub-families are the methyl binding domain (MBD) proteins, the methyl-CpG-binding zinc finger proteins (also called the Kaiso family), and the SRA domain ( S ET and R ING finger domain A ssociated) containing proteins. The SET domain is so-called because it was first identified in three Drosophila proteins called S uppressor of variegation variant 3-9 [Su(var)3-9], E nhancer of zeste, and T rithorax. The RING domain is a zinc-finger-like domain which gets its name from the term R eally I nteresting N ew G ene.