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Deciphering the impact of genetic variation on gene regulation is fundamental to understanding common, complex human diseases. Although histone modifications are important markers of gene regulatory regions of the genome, any specific histone modification has not been assayed in more than a few individuals in the human liver. As a result, the impacts of genetic variation that direct histone modification states in the liver are poorly understood. Here, we generate the most comprehensive genome-wide dataset of two epigenetic marks, H3K4me3 and H3K27ac, and annotate thousands of putative regulatory elements in the human liver. We integrate these findings with genome-wide gene expression data collected from the same human liver tissues and high-resolution promoter-focused chromatin interaction maps collected from human liver-derived HepG2 cells. We demonstrate widespread functional consequences of natural genetic variation on putative regulatory element activity and gene expression levels. Leveraging these extensive datasets, we fine-map a total of 77 GWAS loci that have been associated with at least one complex phenotype. Our results contribute to the repertoire of genes and regulatory mechanisms governing complex disease development and further the basic understanding of genetic and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in the human liver tissue.

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