Editing DNA Methylation Using CRISPR/Cas9

November 29, 2016 Estephany Ferrufino

Gene expression is controlled on several levels from DNA sequence to post-transcriptional changes. Epigenetics demonstrate that gene expression can be controlled by chemical changes in the DNA such as methylation. Since the discovery of epigenetics, researchers have been attempting to produce effective methods to alter the methylation status of select genes. This would enable researchers to effectively turn on or off target genes without affecting the genetic code. Liu et al. (2016) have repurposed the CRISPR/Cas9 system to edit DNA [more…]

Eating Sweet, Fatty Foods During Pregnancy is Linked to ADHD in Children

November 22, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A high-fat, high-sugar diet during pregnancy could be connected to ADHD in children, suggests new research. A mother’s diet may adjust epigenetic marks that attach to her child’s DNA, potentially increasing the odds that he or she will develop ADHD. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, has become a prevalent condition in modern society as researchers attempt to explain its dramatic rise. As of 2011, around 6.4 million children ages 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD according to the CDC. [more…]

Could Exotic Herbs Carry Epigenetic Health Benefits?

November 14, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A mixture of herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine may be able to reduce inflammation by adding and removing epigenetic marks on DNA, suggests a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This alternative medicinal mixture, termed “Wutou decoction”, consists of six different herbs that have been widely used in the traditional Chinese medicine community to alleviate arthritis and other diseases. Now, researchers believe it may have an effect on epigenetic mechanisms known as DNA methylation and histone modifications, [more…]

Smoking Cigarettes Stamps Harmful Epigenetic Fingerprint on DNA

November 8, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Not only does cigarette smoke severely harm the body, it also leaves behind long-lasting damage on DNA, according to a recent study. An unwanted surplus of chemical marks are added to specific spots on the genome of a smoker, which may give rise to diseases such as a cancer, cardiovascular and lung disorders, and osteoporosis. A group of international researchers conducted a large scale meta-analysis of genome-wide DNA methylation, pulling data from nearly 16,000 people. Around 15% of participants were [more…]

Epigenetic Clock Destines Some to Age Faster Regardless of Lifestyle

November 1, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Certain people will age quicker and die sooner, even if they keep their body healthy, suggests a largescale analysis by UCLA scientists. Regardless of how well you take care of yourself, an accelerated internal epigenetic clock may lead to an earlier death for some. Researchers assessed data from over 13,000 individuals, measuring levels of DNA methylation in hundreds of specific areas on the genome to determine their “epigenetic age.” Epigenetic marks found on DNA and histone proteins are known to [more…]