The organisation of DNA into differing forms of packaging, or chromatin, controls many of the cell fate decisions during development. Although early studies focused on individual forms of chromatin, in the last decade more holistic studies have attempted to determine a complete picture of the different forms of chromatin present within a cell. In the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, the study of chromatin states has been aided by the use of complementary and cell-type-specific techniques that profile the marks that recruit chromatin protein binding or the proteins themselves. Although many questions remain unanswered, a clearer picture of how different chromatin states affect development is now emerging, with more unusual chromatin states such as Black chromatin playing key roles. Here, we discuss recent findings regarding chromatin biology in flies.

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