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Chromatin is important for the regulation of transcription and other functions, yet the diversity of chromatin composition and the distribution along chromosomes are still poorly characterized. By integrative analysis of genome-wide binding maps of 53 broadly selected chromatin components in Drosophila cells, we show that the genome is segmented into five principal chromatin types that are defined by unique yet overlapping combinations of proteins and form domains that can extend over > 100 kb. We identify a repressive chromatin type that covers about half of the genome and lacks classic heterochromatin markers. Furthermore, transcriptionally active euchromatin consists of two types that differ in molecular organization and H3K36 methylation and regulate distinct classes of genes. Finally, we provide evidence that the different chromatin types help to target DNA-binding factors to specific genomic regions. These results provide a global view of chromatin diversity and domain organization in a metazoan cell.

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Recently, a series of publications by members of the modENCODE consortium were released online at Science, Nature, and Genome Research. These works collectively describe a massive effort to functionally characterize and annotate the Drosophila melanogaster...