Epigenetic Factors Determine the Characteristics of B-Cells

June 8, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Most people know antibodies as the “warriors” of our immune system, helping us fight off invading pathogens. But not all antibodies are made for this purpose. Some perform necessary maintenance functions, such as clearing the blood of wastes like oxidized LDL cholesterol. These, too, are just as vital for keeping us safe and healthy. Understanding how we acquire antibodies of any type is of interest to scientists because irregularities in our ability to produce them could lead to disease development. [more…]

Impaired Muscle Gene Expression Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

May 25, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Type-2 diabetes comes with a slew of health issues, but one complication that patients often endure is muscle weakness. Poor muscle function makes everyday tasks difficult and reduces activity, which in turn, makes the condition even worse. While exercise and diet can help maintain a patient’s mobility, more information is needed to address the underlying causes that lead to diabetic muscle damage. Scientists at Lund University in Sweden have looked into this matter and have found evidence that one particular [more…]

Switching Off Genes with A New CRISPR Epigenetic Editing Tool

May 11, 2021 Natalie Crowley

CRISPR continues to make headlines as a powerful genomic editing tool. With a Nobel Prize, CRISPR-based COVID-19 diagnostics, and several successful clinical trials in the last year alone, the breakthroughs just keep coming. Now scientists are taking CRISPR to another level – the epigenome.  In a recent paper published in Cell, a team of researchers led by the Whitehead Institute has discovered a unique way to use CRISPR to precisely control gene expression. The new tool is called “CRISPRoff”, and it [more…]

Time Off Reverses the Adverse Epigenetic Effects of Shift Work Disorder

April 27, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Shift work has been on the rise over the past decade as the demand for real-time goods and services increases globally. This growth has never been more evident than during the past year, as the pandemic forced many people to rely on essential workers for increased medical care, home delivery goods, and other high-demand consumer items.  However, working odd hours, especially through the night, poses fundamental challenges to the body. Not only does it disrupt circadian rhythm or the body’s [more…]

Maternal Exercise During Pregnancy Epigenetically Improves Future Health of a Child, Regardless of Parental Weight

April 13, 2021 Natalie Crowley

It’s never too late to exercise – even if you’re pregnant. Not only does it benefit the mother by reducing her chances of getting gestational diabetes or other possible complications, but it will also improve the baby’s total health. New research reveals that exercise could even prevent certain metabolic disorders from being passed on from overweight parents, and the findings point to epigenetics. Women have always been encouraged to eat right and maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. But many [more…]

Epigenetic Biomarkers May Help Assess a Father’s Likelihood of Having an Autistic Child

March 16, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Autism rates have risen steadily in the past two decades, now affecting an estimated 1 in 54 children in the US. Efforts to better understand this condition and treat it effectively have risen, too. However, the underlying causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain unclear, and there is no known preventative measure or cure. But with research on the rise, scientists are coming closer to some answers. For one, ASD appears to be primarily related to the father’s transmission. While [more…]

Epigenetics May Explain How Tuberculosis Develops Antibiotic Resistance

February 3, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Tuberculosis (TB) may be one of the oldest and deadliest diseases in history, but it is still very much a threat to people all over the world. Despite the availability of effective treatments and efforts to control it, TB ranks among the top 10 deadliest infectious diseases today. Treatment usually includes a multiple drug course that is given over 6 to 30 months. Not only is this grueling for a patient to endure, but it is also sometimes ineffective due [more…]

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…]

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