For those of you who already have a decent knowledge of how gene regulation works, how should someone new to the topic acquire a detailed overview?

Is there a particularly good and up-to-date resource? Is it better to learn from the primary literature? If so, what are the main sub-topics within gene regulation to cover?


1 Answer 1


I would not learn from the primary literature, the terminology will likely be confusing and there will be a tendency to conflate whatever the current methods are with the concepts.

I'd suggest going for a basic introductory course in the topic, or a textbook. Here is a resource from NHGRI which may be helpful as an introduction.

Here is an online textbook section that might handle the topic at a very basic level. Here is an online version of a traditional standard text at the undergraduate level.

Probably the best somewhat more technical introduction to the basic concepts, without a lot of the fuss, is Mark Ptashne's classic 1986 book on phage lambda.

I saw Ptashne give a talk in the mid 2010s in which he declared (somewhat pompously) that we still didn't understand anything in gene regulation other than phage lambda. No one contradicted him, and I don't think that anyone would contradict him if he said the same thing today.


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