Articles that explore the connection between epigenetics and diseases and disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and more.

Type 2 Diabetes Linked with Epigenetic Changes

February 6, 2024 Elizabeth Fontanilles

Diabetes is a widespread health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. The disease is complex and can develop due to a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Given its increasing prevalence, scientists worldwide are investigating the underlying genetic complexities and epigenetic factors of diabetes in more detail. One question that researchers are interested in is whether epigenetic changes cause type 2 diabetes or if the changes occur only after a person has become ill. A new study by Lund [more…]

Epigenetic Study Unveils Vital Role of Housekeeping Genetic Elements and Potential for Cancer Therapy

January 9, 2024 Natalie Crowley

Advancements in technology have opened doors for scientists to delve deep into the complex world of genetic control elements, unveiling the intricate mechanisms governing gene activation within our genetic code. Contrary to the simplistic perception of cis-regulatory elements (CREs) as mere genetic on/off switches, emerging evidence underscores their capacity for nuanced behaviors. They’re not just toggles for gene enhancement; they orchestrate complex functions pivotal to sustaining cellular health. New research originating from Japan has uncovered about 11,000 significant genetic switches, [more…]

Twins Study Reveals Epigenetic Signature Linked to Obesity

December 12, 2023 Elizabeth Fontanilles

Obesity stands as a multifaceted health concern affecting millions worldwide. While diet and lifestyle play pivotal roles, researchers are now looking much deeper to determine if susceptibility to obesity could be identified at a molecular level within human cells. In a recent study led by distinguished biology professor Michael Skinner at Washington State University (WSU), a comprehensive twin study was undertaken to probe the epigenetic factors associated with obesity. Their findings uncovered specific DNA methylation regions (DMRs) intricately connected to [more…]

Epigenetic Changes Dictate Cancer’s Course

November 29, 2023 Natalie Crowley

Understanding the intricate interplay between genetics and cancer progression has long captivated the scientific community. While genetic mutations have been the main focal point in oncology, recent strides have illuminated the profound influence of epigenetic modifications in the development of cancer. In a recent study published in the journal Nature, Dr. Eduard Porta from the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute and his team have shed light on the pivotal role that epigenetics plays in steering cells on their journey from [more…]

AI Detects Disease Clues from DNA Methylation Data

November 1, 2023 Natalie Crowley

Artificial intelligence (AI) holds immense potential to transform healthcare by unraveling intricate patterns within complex biological data, laying the foundation for personalized medical solutions. Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have pioneered an AI-driven method to analyze epigenetic data, with wide-ranging applications in medicine and biology. Their advanced models not only accurately estimate individuals’ chronological age but also discern their smoking history. In the realm of genetics, numerous factors come into play, dictating which genes are activated or deactivated at [more…]

Epigenetic study uncovers non-coding Alzheimer’s-related genetic variants

October 17, 2023 Natalie Crowley

In the ongoing pursuit of understanding Alzheimer’s disease (AD), scientists are taking a closer look at the genetic landscape. Their investigation has revealed thousands of genetic variants linked to AD, many of which were once overlooked as non-coding regions of the genome. Recent advancements in the field of epigenetics have illuminated the critical role these non-coding variants play in gene regulation. However, how these gene changes affect Alzheimer’s risk and brain cells is still unclear. Researchers from the University of [more…]

Unveiling the Epigenetic Mechanism Behind Immune Memory & T-Cell Dysfunction

September 5, 2023 Natalie Crowley

One remarkable trait of the immune system is its ability to remember past encounters with harmful pathogens, like viruses, parasites, and bacteria. The memory of these foreign agents, or “antigens” as they are called in scientific terms, allows for a swifter, more effective response if they happen to reappear. While immune memory is the basis of how vaccines work, the intricate underlying mechanisms and the causes of dysfunctional immune responses remain areas of active scientific exploration. In a recent study [more…]

Reversing Fate: Exploiting Epigenetics to Treat Drug Resistance in Cancer

June 27, 2023 Pamela A. Harvey

All cancerous tumors exhibit these reversible epigenetic changes that could represent novel reprogrammable targets to address drug resistance (1). Recent research published in Communications Biology provides essential information about the specific epigenetic alterations that may be responsible for chemotherapy resistance (2). Drug Resistance in Cancer More than 90% of the mortality caused by cancer can be linked to drug resistance (3). The molecular mechanisms mediating drug resistance in cancerous cells include increased function of enzymes that render drugs ineffective, mutations [more…]

DNA Methylation as a Tool for Predicting Type 2 Diabetes Risk

June 13, 2023 Natalie Crowley

Researchers in the UK have discovered a new way to assess the risk of developing type 2 diabetes years before any symptoms appear. By analyzing changes found in the DNA of a person’s blood, scientists can now provide a more accurate prediction of the likelihood of developing this condition. This breakthrough has the potential to improve early detection and enable the implementation of preventive measures, ultimately reducing the economic and health burdens associated with type 2 diabetes. So, how does [more…]

Researchers Discovered the Start and Stop Controls of Gene Expression

April 18, 2023 Natalie Crowley

For years, scientists have been trying to understand how a particular histone modification called H3K4me3 affects gene expression. Although it is known to play a role in activating genes, its precise function has been difficult to determine due to the presence of other similar proteins within the cell that have overlapping functions. Recently, however, the elusive function of H3K4me3 has finally been revealed. According to an article published in the journal Nature, this histone modification acts as a signaling system [more…]

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