Binge Drinking as a Teen May Epigenetically Harm the Health of Future Generations

December 6, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

not only harms your brain and body, but may also epigenetically impact your future children, a new study reports. Excessive drinking in adolescents could turn genes on or off in their offspring’s brain, setting them up for susceptibility to certain diseases. The study, presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting on Nov. 14, 2016, suggests that repeated episodes of excessive drinking when you’re young can actually put your future children at risk for developing disorders such as anxiety, depression, [more…]

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…]

Histone variant H2A.Z underlies inactivation of activity-dependent gene expression in learned behavior

August 23, 2016 Caitlin Aamodt

Over the past decade discoveries about the role of epigenetic mechanisms in learning and memory have changed the way scientists think about cognition 1. The most well characterized to date are histone acetylation and DNA methylation, but more recently discovered epigenetic mechanisms are continuing to shape researchers’ understandings of transcriptional regulation in post-mitotic neurons. Chromatin is made up of nucleosomes, which are 147 base pairs of DNA wrapped around a histone octomer. The canonical histones that organize DNA at the [more…]

Inherited Epigenetic and Behavioral Consequences of Trauma Could be Reversed

August 16, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

It’s possible that the impact of traumatic experiences may be epigenetically inherited via molecular memory that is passed down through generations. Although still controversial, new research takes this concept a step further and demonstrates that traumatic behavior could be reversed when it would otherwise be inherited. A study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, was conducted by researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich and showed that behavioral symptoms associated with trauma in male mice and their offspring can be undone [more…]

Poor Socioeconomic Status May Leave Epigenetic Mark on Gene Linked to Depression

June 7, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Could there be connections between socio-economic status, epigenetics, and one’s likelihood of developing depression? Previous and current research has long revealed a relationship between poverty and depression, and now new research suggests that there could be an underlying epigenetic influence. This new finding may help mediate the association between lower socioeconomic status and the risk of developing the disease. The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, utilizes epigenetics, brain imaging, and behavioral data of adolescents collected over three years as part [more…]

New Method Simultaneously Profiles Methylome and Transcriptome in the Same Single Cell

April 7, 2016 Marisa Mariani

A new single-cell genomics protocol that is potentially transformative for epigenetics research has been developed by scientists in the UK and Belgium. Applying this method, it is now possible to study the epigenome and transcriptome of a single cell at the same time. This novel approach could enhance our understanding of the link between gene expression and DNA methylation in single cells. Also, the knowledge of this relationship may clarify the mechanisms underlying normal development, and changes that occur with [more…]

Affectionate Moms with Depression May Epigenetically Buffer Their Child from Stress

March 8, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Different environmental factors experienced by a child can undoubtedly impact their life in the long run. Whether they were born into poverty, lack access to education, or are surrounded by violence, these experiences have the ability to dramatically disrupt their lives if they’re without the right support system. But, could a mother’s exposure to stress impact her child even before he or she is born? And could the way a mother treats her child buffer any adverse impact? Research on [more…]

Moms Exposed to Lead May Impact DNA Methylation of Her Children and Grandchildren

November 24, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Evidence supporting multigenerational epigenetic inheritance continues to mount as a group of researchers discover that mothers who have a significant amount of lead present in their blood can epigenetically impact not only their unborn children, but their grandchildren as well. The study was published in Scientific Reports. It is well known that children in the womb can be impacted by small amounts of exposure to lead. If a woman is pregnant and exposed to lead, it can harm the baby [more…]

A Review of the Epigenetics Course: Epigenetic Control of Gene Expression

October 6, 2015 Natalie Crowley

Perhaps it’s just the American in me, but why does everything seem more appealing when told in an Australian accent? Ok, that wasn’t entirely the reason why I stuck it out for nearly eight weeks to take an online course about epigenetics offered by the University of Melbourne. The truth is, it was interesting, I learned a lot, and despite the fact that it crept into my summer free time, I actually liked it. I’ve never taken any online course, [more…]

Bisulfite Sequencing of Ancient DNA May Lead to Clues about Old Populations

June 9, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

For the first time, anthropologists from The University of Texas at Austin have shown that epigenetic tags on DNA, such as DNA methylation, can be successfully detected in the remains of ancient human DNA using bisulfite sequencing. These results can help progress future studies to enhance our understanding of disease and famine experienced by those from ancient times. Epigenetic research assesses various chemical marks made to DNA which do not alter the underlying genetic code, but impact how certain genes [more…]

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