Getting an A with the 3Cs: Chromosome Conformation Capture for Undergraduates
chromosome conformation capture; 3C; chromatin; undergraduate learning
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Chromosome conformation capture (3C) is a powerful tool that has spawned a family of similar techniques (e.g., Hi-C, 4C, and 5C, referred to here as 3C techniques) that provide detailed information of the three-dimensional organization of chromatin. The 3C techniques have been used in a wide range of studies, from monitoring the changes in chromatin organization in cancer cells to identifying enhancer contacts made with gene promoters. While many of the studies using these techniques are asking big genome-wide questions with intricate sample types (i.e., single-cell analysis), what is often lost is that the 3C techniques are grounded in basic molecular biology methods that are applicable to a broad range of studies. By addressing tightly focused questions of chromatin organization, this cutting-edge technique can be used to enhance the undergraduate research and teaching lab experience. This paper presents a 3C protocol and provides adaptations and points of emphasis for implementation at primarily undergraduate institutions in undergraduate research and teaching experiences.