Sunshine and Epigenetics: Altering Histone Variant H2A.Z Turnover and Gene Expression in Rice Seedlings

March 7, 2017 Sadman Sakib

Have you ever thought of how the day-night cycle can epigenetically affect plants? Latest research from Zhang et al. has shown a possible mechanism of how histone variants can negatively regulate gene expression in day-night cycles of rice seedling tissues. This paves a way for an exciting area of research of how histone variants can be differentially deposited in a very short time span, in order to fine tune the transcription due to the environmental stimuli in plants. Histones variants, [more…]

3 Pioneering Epigenetic Labs: Exploring the People and Discoveries that Transcend the Lab Walls

July 28, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

It’s undeniable – the emerging field of epigenetics has ignited the interests of scientists worldwide, fueling discoveries that often raise more questions than they offer answers. New grad students and seasoned PIs alike are delving into the nuances of the molecular epigenetic machinery within us. Even a growing number of specialized labs and institutions are designated solely to epigenetics. But, who are the people behind the bench, stoking the fire within the lab walls with their fervent dedication to scientific [more…]

Epigenetics: Avoiding the Pull of Pseudoscientific Nonsense

November 3, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Serious concerns have been raised recently regarding the widespread misuse of the hot new term “epigenetics,” particularly by self-proclaimed gurus or, if you prefer, “legion purveyors of flapdoodle.” Some claim that, with the power of your mind, you can epigenetically cure or develop cancer, that positive thoughts can actually relax and lengthen DNA strands, or that happiness sits in reserves on your DNA eagerly waiting to spring to life at the command of your beliefs, emotions, and behavior! In general, [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…]

Inheritance and Transmission of Epigenetic Memory Across Generations

September 30, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New research has been suggesting that parents can transmit changes to their gene expression to their children. The heritable changes occur as a result of environmental stresses and are known as epigenetic modifications. A previous article covered the epigenetic transfer of nutrition “memory” across several generations. Now, a recent study by researchers from the University of California in Santa Cruz, demonstrates the transferring of epigenetic memory across generations as well as from one cell to another during early development. The [more…]

Jumping Enzyme Discovered in Nucleus Influences Epigenetic Regulation

August 26, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A study led by a team of researchers at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta sheds light on a new, interesting way metabolism is connected to DNA regulation. The discovery may add an important piece to the puzzle in scientists’ quest to understand diseases and their epigenetic basis. One such disease commonly focused on is cancer. Inside the cell’s nucleus, DNA tightly winds itself around histones, a specialized type of protein responsible for the formation [more…]

Our Parents’ Lives Could Influence Memories Through Epigenetics

January 7, 2014 WhatIsEpigenetics

The scientists at Emory University School of Medicine showed new evidence that our parents’ behaviors before we are born may have a bigger influence on us than we previously imagined, although we know our parents have a big impact on our lives. The scientists used olfactory molecular specificity to examine the inheritance of parental traumatic exposure, a phenomenon that has been frequently observed, but not understood. They subjected F0 mice to odor fear conditioning before conception and found that subsequently [more…]

The Epigenetic Landscape is a Key Determinant of Gene Expression Reprogramming in Cardiac Hypertrophy

December 4, 2013 WhatIsEpigenetics

The epigenetic signature for cardiac hypertrophy, which can progress to heart failure through an adaptive response of the myocardium to stress, is still poorly understood. The scientists at Humanitas Clinical and Research Center, Rozzano, Italy report on the genome-wide distribution of seven histone modifications in adult mouse cardiomyocytes subjected to a prohypertrophy stimulus in vivo. They found a set of promoters with an epigenetic pattern that distinguishes specific functional classes of genes regulated in hypertrophy and identified 9,207 candidate active [more…]

Epigenetic Memory at Embryonic Enhancers Identified in DNA Maps from Adult Mouse Tissues

September 13, 2013 Milka Rodriguez

In human DNA, 5-methylcytosine is found in approximately 1.5% of genomic DNA. In somatic cells, 5-mC occurs almost exclusively in the context of paired symmetrical methylation of a CpG site. An exception to this is seen in embryonic stem (ES) cells, where a substantial amount of 5-mC is also observed in non-CpG contexts. In the bulk of genomic DNA, most CpG sites are heavily methylated while CpG islands (sites of CpG clusters) in germ-line tissues and located near promoters of [more…]

Research in Epigenetics Experiencing Exponential Growth

August 26, 2013 WhatIsEpigenetics

Publication growth in epigenetic-related research attests to the exponential expansion of this field since 2000 according to GENRports (GENReports: Market & Tech Analysis, Produced by Enal Razvi). The yearly published articles related to epigenetics are sharply increased from about 1000 in 2000 to more than 11,000 in 2012 (See Figure: “Growth of Epigenetics-Focused Publications in PubMed”). Around 50% of the research is focused on DNA methylation and 25% is for non-coding RNA studies, while another 25% is related to histone [more…]

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