Many human diseases are the result of inappropriate changes in gene expression resulting in deleterious phenotypes of specific cells. For example, loss of expression of tumour suppressors and/or ectopic expression of oncogenes underlie many cancers, a switch from an adult to a fetal gene-expression profile in cardiac myocytes results in cardiac hypertrophy and changes in the expression of many ion channel genes leads to a phenotypic switch from contractile to proliferative smooth muscle cells in vascular diseases such as neointimal hyperplasia and atherosclerosis. Understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for these changes in gene expression is a major goal, in order to identify novel therapeutic targets.

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