DNA Methylation Influences Continuous Variation in Ant Worker Size

March 31, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Scientists have thought that differences in traits that exist along a continuum like skin color, height, intelligence, ability to gain weight, and risk for developing diseases were due to genetic and environmental factors. The connection between these two factors and how they interact together, however, has long been uncertain. Researchers from McGill University have conducted an epigenetic study on carpenter ants that reinforces the importance of a key epigenetic mechanism, known as DNA methylation, and supports the hypothesis that environmental [more…]

Could Epigenetics Explain the Origins of Allergic Disease?

March 24, 2015 Natalie Crowley

Finally, spring is here – that wonderful time of year when the temperature starts to rise and everything is in bloom. But for many of us, it also marks the beginning of allergy season. That means itchy watery eyes, sneezing, running nose, coughing and overall misery. But allergies don’t just affect people in the spring and they are not all related to weather. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1), more than 50 million Americans have an allergy [more…]

The Epigenetics of Depression

March 17, 2015 Adam Alonzi

Major depressive disorder (MDD) affects up to 17% of the world’s population. The WHO estimates it will be the second most costly disease to world governments by 2020. As devastating as it is to those who suffer from it, and to their loved ones, relatively little is known about its exact causes, and while diagnosis and treatment have advanced greatly over the past twenty years, far too many people continue to slip through the cracks (only about 50% of patients [more…]

Collecting & Analyzing Libraries For Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP)

March 10, 2015 David Esopi

Editor’s Note: At the author’s request on August 20th, 2015, revisions to this article were made following careful consideration. All changes are denoted in red. In the previous post of this ChIP series, we left off with your samples rotating at four degrees overnight, to give the antibodies plenty of time to bind and the beads plenty of time to block.  In this final post, we will finish the assay and provide advice on how to QC and analyze your libraries. [more…]

The Epigenetics of Sleep: 3 Reasons to Catch More Zzz’s

March 3, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Although the mysteries surrounding sleep are still being uncovered by scientists, we do know that sleep is crucial to our daytime functioning and is vital for processes such as learning and consolidation of memories. Unfortunately, we often fail to get enough sleep even when we know how important it is. Trying to compensate for poor sleep by sleeping more on the weekends or drinking stimulants like coffee just to stay awake can actually end up doing more harm than good. [more…]