Here we survey variation and dynamics of active regulatory elements genome-wide using longitudinal samples from human individuals. We applied Assay of Transposase Accessible Chromatin with sequencing (ATAC-seq) to map chromatin accessibility in primary CD4+ T cells isolated from standard blood draws of 12 healthy volunteers over time, from cancer patients, and during T cell activation. Over 4,000 predicted regulatory elements (7.2%) showed reproducible variation in accessibility between individuals. Gender was the most significant attributable source of variation. ATAC-seq revealed previously undescribed elements that escape X chromosome inactivation and predicted gender-specific gene regulatory networks across autosomes, which coordinately affect genes with immune function. Noisy regulatory elements with personal variation in accessibility are significantly enriched for autoimmune disease loci. Over one third of regulome variation lacked genetic variation in cis, suggesting contributions from environmental or epigenetic factors. These results refine concepts of human individuality and provide a foundational reference for comparing disease-associated regulomes.
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