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Bifractal nature of chromosome contact maps

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Modern biological techniques such as Hi-C permit one to measure probabilities that different chromosomal regions are close in space. These probabilities can be visualized as matrices called contact maps. In this paper, we introduce a multifractal analysis of chromosomal contact maps. Our analysis reveals that Hi-C maps are bifractal, i.e., complex geometrical objects characterized by two distinct fractal dimensions. To rationalize this observation, we introduce a model that describes chromosomes as a hierarchical set of nested domains and we solve it exactly. The predicted multifractal spectrum is in excellent quantitative agreement with experimental data. Moreover, we show that our theory yields a more robust estimation of the scaling exponent of the contact probability than existing methods. By applying this method to experimental data, we detect subtle conformational changes among chromosomes during differentiation of human stem cells.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer043078
TidsskriftPhysical Review Research
Vol/bind2
Udgave nummer4
Antal sider9
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 15 okt. 2020

ID: 255734693