Breakthrough Technique Calculates Gene Regulation at the Single-Cell Level Using Deep-Learning

January 19, 2021 Natalie Crowley

A new technique has been developed that is expected to advance our knowledge of numerous underlying biological processes, including those implicated in complex diseases like cancer. Using machine learning —a form of artificial intelligence— scientists can predict gene regulation at the cellular level – a process that, before now, has been nearly impossible to do accurately. An important goal in epigenetic research is to identify regions in the genome that are vulnerable to molecular factors that can alter gene expression [more…]

Reversing Vision Loss by Restoring Youthful Epigenetic Information

December 15, 2020 Natalie Crowley

Aging is a fact of life that cannot be avoided. From the moment we are born, every part of us starts to age, and slowly over time, the cells and tissues in our bodies progressively decline in their ability to repair and restore themselves. Our eyes get hit even harder by this occurrence, especially nowadays, as our daily routines include more screen time and less sleep. But what if the aging process could be stopped or, better yet, reversed? In [more…]

Researchers Characterize Chromatin State & Gene Expression Dynamics During Heart Development

November 17, 2020 Natalie Crowley

The human heart is arguably one of the most complex and vital structures of the body. It is also the first organ to develop in a fetus. That’s because it’s needed right away to efficiently transport nutrients and waste throughout the growing embryo. Once formed, the heart will continue to do its same job over the course of one’s life. If the heart does not develop properly, then a person’s health is at great risk. While we know a lot [more…]

Epigenetically Awaking Ancient Parts of Our DNA to Fight Cancer

November 3, 2020 Natalie Crowley

Buried within our DNA, there exists a vast amount of dormant genetic material – a remarkable percentage of which consists of ancient inserted elements that have found their way into our genome, only to be silenced for millions of years.  While the origins of most of these obsolete retroelements are not fully known, their inactive status is epigenetically controlled. It has been suggested that “turning on” these parts of our genome could be useful, especially in fighting off certain diseases [more…]

RNA Modification Detected in Swine Coronavirus

October 20, 2020 Natalie Crowley

Years before COVID-19 emerged out of China and entered the US, a lesser-known, highly contagious coronavirus (CoV) had already hit US soil, causing an outbreak of severe diarrhea in pigs. This swine CoV, referred to as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), first appeared in the US in 2013. It caused high mortality and morbidity rates in the pork industry, spreading rapidly throughout the US then further into Canada and Mexico. Although PEDV is not known to be transferable to humans, [more…]

A Look Into the Epigenetics of a Coronavirus Infection

March 10, 2020 Natalie Crowley

Emerging viral infections pose a major threat to global public health. In the last two decades, the world has dealt with several fatal outbreaks from the Swine Flu to Ebola to Zika infections and more. The latest to appear is COVID-19, which emerged in December in Wuhan, China and spread quickly around the globe. Although this disease is new, the virus itself is not entirely unknown. It’s actually a type of coronavirus (CoV) –one that is similar to SARS-CoV and [more…]

Epigenetics May Help Rebuild The Coral Reefs

February 18, 2020 Natalie Crowley

Coral reefs are some of the most extraordinary and diverse ecosystems on the planet. Taking up only a fraction of the ocean’s surface, they support about a quarter of all marine life. But their existence is continually being threatened by a variety of factors including pollution, global warming, and destructive fishing techniques. For years, scientists have investigated various ways to save the corals, from breeding them in a lab to making them more resistant to pollution. Now, a new study [more…]

Epigenetic Study Finds Overactive Hormone May Drive Hypersexual Disorder

October 15, 2019 Natalie Crowley

Sex is a natural and normal part of life. When practiced safely with a consenting partner, it’s not only pleasurable but has certain health benefits. However, some people can be obsessed with sex, to the point that it causes them more harm than does any good. These individuals are usually diagnosed with having hypersexual disorder (HSD) – a condition where excessive sexual thoughts and actions interfere with the ability to function day-to-day. Often accompanied by other medical conditions, the causes [more…]

Your Zodiac Sign and Epigenetics

September 3, 2019 Natalie Crowley

Do you know your zodiac sign and what it means? If you do, perhaps you have the qualities that are typically predicted for people under that sign. According to astrologers, your zodiac sign, which refers to the position of the stars on the date you were born, can strongly influence your personality and life. But how can something so far away, like the stars or any other celestial object, control one’s behavior or predict occurrences? Well, there’s no scientific evidence [more…]

How Shutting Down DNA Methylation Affects the “Dark Matter” in Our Genome

July 30, 2019 Natalie Crowley

Along the vast stretches of molecules that make up our DNA, only a small portion (about 3%) consists of genes, the essential building blocks or our bodies. The rest has been considered dark matter, as it appears to serve little to no biological purpose. Out of this area, the most substantial bulk is comprised of mobile genetic elements that scientists call transposons or transposable elements (TEs). Throughout evolution, these TEs have colonized our genome by basically copying and pasting themselves [more…]

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