Articles that explore the ways in which the environment influences gene expression and epigenetic marks, including information on pollution, toxins, and global warming.

Epigenetics and Diet May Determine Who Becomes Queen Bee

September 18, 2018 Lisa Fox

Swords and stones might determine royalty in England, but scientists discovered that in honeybees, the deciding factor may be epigenetics. A recent study suggests that histone modifications, including histone methylation and histone acetylation, could determine whether bee larvae develop into workers or a queen. Interestingly, the bees’ diet was found to influence these epigenetic marks. Diet can have a significant impact in human epigenetics, and could influence a person’s disease risk and mental ability. “Think of the genome as the [more…]

One Night Without Sleep Could Trigger Epigenetic Changes and Weight Gain

September 4, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Even just one night of sleep loss could lead to epigenetic changes that tweak our metabolism and regulation of gene expression, a new study suggests. Researchers at Uppsala University found that one night without sleep was linked to alteration of the human epigenome, weight gain, and the loss of lean muscle mass. Previous research has shown that skipping sleep lowers the body’s protective antioxidant levels and leads to epigenetic changes. Sleep deprivation can also impact histone modifications and impair memory. [more…]

Exposure to Cold Temperatures Can Change Our Gene Expression and Fat Cells

August 14, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Long-term exposure to cold temperatures could actually affect our gene expression and influence our fat cells, a recent study suggests. Research published in Nature Communications offers more evidence on how lifestyle choices and exposure to our environment can dictate the way our genes express themselves, an overarching theme of epigenetics. A group of researchers based out of Tokyo worked alongside colleagues from around the world to track changes to the epigenome following long-term exposure to cold temperatures. They discovered that [more…]

How Epigenetics is Improving Our Understanding of Domestication in Animals

July 3, 2018 Natalie Crowley

Tens of thousands of years ago, humans formed a unique bond with one particular animal, the wolf. And over time with years of interaction and intervention, these wolves transformed. They became docile and less fearful. They changed in appearance, becoming smaller with floppier ears and curled tails. They even learned how to read human facial expressions and take commands. In effect, they were no longer wolves, but an entirely new species — the dog. Dogs, like many other domestic animals, [more…]

Toxins May Affect Epigenetics Through Multiple Generations

May 21, 2018 James Cain

Organic foods are rather popular in shopping baskets nowadays. After all, avoiding those pesky pesticides that are used on a vast amount of produce is surely good for our health. But what about the health of our children and their children thereafter? We already know that the life experiences of our mothers and fathers can influence the epigenetics in their children. Epigenetics may also be ‘remembered’ through the phenomena known as transgenerational inheritance; so the pesticides your great-granddad may have [more…]

Epigenetics, Nutrition, and Our Health: How What We Eat Could Affect Tags on Our DNA

May 15, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Many of us are familiar with the foods that damage our bodies – they slow our metabolism, might add a few pounds, and stiffen our arteries. But what if certain food items could help or harm us in a place we may never have considered – like our DNA? A developing field called nutriepigenomics examines the connection between diet and chemical marks that can be attached to or removed from our DNA, thereby turning genes on or off. Many new [more…]

EpigenCare Pioneers Personalized Skincare Based on Your Unique Epigenetic Signature

March 15, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Pinpointing factors that make a person unique could shift the entire landscape of how we attend to our health – from exercise plans to custom diets and even skincare regimens. The concept of personalization has pierced the bubble of the prevailing “one size fits all” mentality, deflating the flawed notion that what works for the majority will likely work for anyone. When it comes to our bodies’ largest organ, and caring for it effectively, epigenetics may provide an answer. Our [more…]

Paternal Environmental and Lifestyle Factors Influence Epigenetic Inheritance

February 28, 2018 Estephany Ferrufino

There is strong evidence that suggests certain environmental or lifestyle factors may lead to increased risk of developing chronic diseases. These factors such as diet, behavior, stress, exposure to pollutants, and physical activity have been known to cause epigenetic changes which may be passed down from one generation to the next. It is believed that a father’s exposure to environmental factors can play a role in an offspring’s epigenetic patterns and health. Recent evidence suggests that sperm epigenetic modifications can [more…]

Father’s Exposure to Phthalates Impact Epigenetic Marks on Sperm DNA

October 10, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New epigenetic research conducted by scientists at the University of Massachusetts suggests that a father’s environment can affect the health of his baby via epigenetic marks in his sperm. Specifically, male exposure to phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors found in plastics, personal care products like shaving cream, and in the environment that surrounds us, were found to have an impact on a couples’ success when having children. Led by Richard Pilsner, an environmental health scientist, this ongoing study supported by [more…]

Epigenetic Research for Space Exploration

September 19, 2017 Natalie Crowley

Sixty years ago this October, a tiny little beach ball-sized satellite named Sputnik would usher in the beginning of the space age. Since that time, several space exploration achievements have transpired and many have included humans traveling in space. But humans weren’t exactly meant to live in outer space. Our bodies are uniquely adapted to the Earth’s gravity and environment. So if we want to travel longer distances into space, Mars for example, then we need to know how the [more…]

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