Biological differences among metazoans and between cell types in a given organism arise in large part due to differences in gene expression patterns. Gene-distal enhancers are key contributors to these expression patterns, exhibiting both sequence diversity and cell type specificity. Studies of long-range interactions indicate that enhancers are often important determinants of nuclear organization, contributing to a general model for enhancer function that involves direct enhancer-promoter contact. However, mechanisms for enhancer function are emerging that do not fit solely within such a model, suggesting that enhancers as a class of DNA regulatory element may be functionally and mechanistically diverse.
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