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…]

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…]

The Epigenetic Marks of Circulating Cell-Free DNA (cfDNA)

September 16, 2016 Blanca Valle

Circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) are small DNA fragments found circulating in plasma or serum, as well as other bodily fluids. The cfDNA isolated from plasma usually contains fragments of about ~170-500 bp, mostly corresponding to ~170 bp mononucleosomal and ~300 bp dinucleosomal DNA fragments [1,2], thought to arise mostly from apoptotic cells. In addition, larger fragments (>1,000 bp) are often detected, thought to arise mostly from necrotic cells. In healthy individuals, the levels of cfDNA in plasma/serum are generally low, ranging between [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…]

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…]

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…]

Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Study Supports HDAC Inhibitor as Possible Lung Cancer Treatment

July 28, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A person’s genetic code can contribute to their risk for developing non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for about 85% of lung cancers. Epigenetics, the study of chemical tags that impact gene expression without altering the genetic sequence, is shown to also profoundly influence the development of cancer. In a study by Asan Medical Center researchers from The University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Korea, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-on-chip assays and other techniques were used to investigate the epigenetic [more…]

DNA Methylation and Glucocorticoid Resistance Offers Clues to Improve Cancer Drugs

May 12, 2015 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Scientists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital conducted a study that illuminates a mechanism by which leukemia cells resist steroids, a key factor detrimental to the success of chemotherapy. This discovery could help create more effective cancer drugs and improve the treatment of many autoimmune related diseases. The researchers looked at a certain type of steroid hormones involved in the immune system, known as glucocorticoids. These hormones are crucial components to the chemotherapy drug cocktail that has helped increase long-term [more…]

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