m6A Editing: Harnessing CRISPR-Cas for Programmable RNA Modification

November 8, 2022 Mike Spelios

“The fifth RNA base” N6-methyladenosine, or m6A, is the most common and abundant eukaryotic RNA modification, accounting for over 80% of all RNA methylation.  It can be found mainly in mRNA, but is also observed in non-coding species like tRNA, rRNA, and miRNA.  Through interactions with various binding proteins called “readers”, m6A affects virtually every facet of ribonucleic acid biology: structure, splicing, localization, translation, stability, and turnover [1].  Aside from this central role in RNA metabolism, m6A is a factor [more…]

Researchers Discover New Epigenetic Biomarkers for Prostate Cancer

October 25, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Cancer that occurs in the prostate is one of the most common cancers found in men globally. It is also clinically one of the most varied, with a subgroup of patients that advance more quickly to metastasis. Unfortunately, many diagnostic measures used today are not capable of predicting prostate cancer’s (PC) progression. Because epigenetic modifications are usually found early in tumor development, researchers have become more interested in studying these changes to find biomarkers for the disease. In a recent [more…]

Researchers Find That Moms Pass On Additional Epigenetic Information To Their Children

October 11, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Our understanding of early development and its importance for lifelong health is constantly evolving, thanks in part to the growing field of epigenetics. We now know that parents pass along more than just their genes – they also transmit molecular mechanisms that control how genes are expressed. These epigenetic gene regulators help ensure the normal development of a child. However, only a few genes in our genome carry the epigenetic data of our parents. These “imprinted genes” are either expressed [more…]

Accessing Histone PTMs: Insights Into the Methods Used for Their Assessment

September 27, 2022 Mike Spelios

This article was first published by EpigenTek. In the early 1960s, Vincent G. Allfrey and his colleagues at the Rockefeller Institute (today’s Rockefeller University) demonstrated by way of C14 labeling the incorporation of methyl and acetyl groups into histones.1 The evidence suggested that these chemical additions succeeded protein synthesis, although the means by which they were incorporated as well as the extent of their biological significance were not fully understood at the time. Allfrey’s pioneering work effectively laid the foundation for histone [more…]

Living in a dreamworld: What genetics (and epigenetics?) can tell us about lucid dreams

September 13, 2022 Mike Spelios

Have you ever become aware that you’re in a dream state while you’re dreaming?  If so, then chances are you’ve had a lucid dream.  Much like Neo plugged into a simulated Matrix, you are cognizant of your altered reality and can even manipulate your dream environment.  Lucid dreams can be quite pleasant for some people.  For others, especially those with “Reward Deficiency Syndrome” (RDS) behaviors like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorder [more…]

Researchers Discover Disease Causes Abnormal Chromatin Packaging in Cells

August 30, 2022 Natalie Crowley

DNA exists within every cell in the body, but it’s packaged differently in each cell type or tissue. The bundled-up DNA is called chromatin, and its configuration helps regulate gene expression. It does this by allowing transcription to take place along specific DNA regions as needed during its lifecycle. Thus, cells must be able to control chromatin’s structure and remodeling capabilities to function correctly. However, disruptions in a cell’s microenvironment, as in disease, can upset the mechanisms that control chromatin. [more…]

Evaluating the Epigenetic Age of Sperm to Predict Pregnancy Outcomes

August 16, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Women’s health behaviors and age have historically been seen as the determining factors to a successful pregnancy. Of course, that view has been changing over the years as more research examines the male partner’s role in fertility. One factor considered significant to males’ reproductive capability is their age. Generally, that means taking into account their chronological age. But chronological age doesn’t accurately depict the “true age” of a person…or, in the case of fertility, the biological age of a male’s [more…]

Severe COVID-19 Reaction in Children Carries a Distinctive Epigenetic Signature

August 2, 2022 Natalie Crowley

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals in hot zones like New York City were bursting with incoming patients. Remarkably, very few of them were under 18. The reason is still a mystery, but somehow most children and teens appear to be protected from getting the worst of COVID-19.  This assumption was tested in April 2020, when doctors from the UK and US documented a presentation in children of a severe shock-like illness similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic [more…]

Epigenetic Study Reveals Novel Subgroups for Type 2 Diabetes

July 5, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Today over 400 million people around the globe are living with diabetes, the more significant majority of which have type 2. In all cases, the disease disrupts the body’s use of glucose, making it difficult for cells to take in needed sugar from the blood. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to problems with the kidneys, nerves, eyes, and feet, as well as comorbidities like heart disease and stroke. Diabetes is a chronic condition, meaning that people who [more…]

Alleviating Epigenetically-Regulated Chronic Pain

June 21, 2022 Natalie Crowley

Pain is a natural symptom of damage to the body, either done by disease or injury. Usually, it subsides upon healing. But when pain persists beyond healing, or occurs for no apparent reason for a prolonged period of time, it is more than just a symptom. It is a chronic condition in its own right that needs attention. However, chronic pain is difficult to treat, even diagnose properly, because it is poorly understood in many cases. Plus, conventional therapies are [more…]

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