What is Epigenetics technical articles are geared towards epigenetic research techniques, news, and trends in the field of epigenetics, written by scientists from universities and institutions including UCLA, Hofstra, NIH, Johns Hopkins, and more.

Explore in detail new epigenetic research techniques and tips for topics like next-generation sequencing (NGS) in epigenetics, m6A RNA methylation, CRISPR/Cas9 system epigenetic editing, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) protocol optimization, and single-cell epigenomics methods.

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A Role for m6A Methylation in the Immune Response of Natural Killer Cells Toward Cancer

November 9, 2021 Natalie Crowley

The body’s first line of defense against infection is the innate immune system. Although it is non-specific and less effective than the acquired immune system, it responds to invading pathogens much faster, holding off an immunological threat until a specific response can be mobilized. One integral part of the innate immune system is natural killer cells (NK). As their name suggests, these cells are capable of killing affected cells autonomously while also signaling an immune response as they secrete pro-inflammatory [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…]

Histone Modifications – Regulators of Viral Infection

October 6, 2020 Mike Spelios

Histones are the most eminent DNA-interacting proteins.  As the primary protein constituent of chromatin, forming complexes with DNA to compact our large genome for efficient nuclear organization, histones support critical cellular processes such as transcription, DNA replication, and DNA repair through diverse post-translational modifications that regulate their interactions with DNA and other nuclear proteins.  Consequently, anomalous changes in histone epigenetics can lead down the road to assorted pathological conditions, making histone modifications and their associated modifying enzymes suitable diagnostic, prognostic, [more…]

The Epigenome of Circulating Cell-Free DNA as a Biomarker of Disease

November 7, 2019 Mike Spelios

Cells are continually being generated and eliminated by our bodies in an ongoing cycle crucial for maintaining proper tissue structure and function.  The death of cells during normal tissue maintenance results in the release of intracellular DNA material into the bloodstream, where it freely circulates.  In fact, healthy individuals can have up to 100 nanograms of non-encapsulated DNA fragments floating around in every milliliter of their blood.1  Circulating cell-free DNA, or cfDNA for short, has proven quite useful in various [more…]

How to Choose an Antibody: For Beginners

July 8, 2019 Hayley Mann

Antibodies are used extensively in research for procedures, such as western blotting (WB), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), and immunoprecipitation (IP). The issue of accuracy and reproducibility surrounding the usage of commercially available antibodies for research continues to be a concern within the scientific community.  The best way to compile information about an antibody is to review the provided manufacturer datasheet. In fact, some journals will not publish a study that includes an antibody with insufficient information and validation effort. Researchers [more…]

DNA Deaminase-Based Hydroxymethyl–Seq: Nondestructive and Base-Resolution

June 4, 2019 Hayley Mann

The most common epigenetic mark throughout the genome is 5-methylcytosine (5mC). Additionally, 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) is also known to play a role in various processes, including embryonic stem cell development and tumorigenesis. There is also an enrichment of 5hmC in human neurons. Accurately quantifying and determining the genomic location of these two different marks is therefore crucial to our understanding of molecular biology and disease. Standard bisulfite sequencing (BS-seq) has been a reliable method for detecting un-methylated and methylated cytosine residues [more…]

What is Paleoepigenetics?

April 30, 2019 Hayley Mann

To unravel the complexities surrounding the genome, advanced technologies in genomics and epigenetics are typically necessary. Most of these tests and instruments are designed with high-quality DNA and tissue specimens in mind. Accordingly, scientists preferentially use concentrated and freshly extracted DNA to achieve the best results. Yet, some researchers do not have the luxury of working with modern DNA. This is why the field of ancient DNA (aDNA) emerged. Evolutionary biologists and anthropologists that study humans and other organisms from [more…]

Neurotransmitter Serotonin is Welcomed as a Potentially New Epigenetic Mark

April 23, 2019 James Cain

The neurotransmitter serotonin (also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)) has an absolute vast array of functions across the human body. Most commonly known to regulate mood, it is also key for the development of neurones. In fact, serotonin is linked to various mental disorders, including depression, which globally affects more than 300 million people. It has long been assumed that serotonin has an indirect role in relation to epigenetic regulation1. The binding of serotonin to its receptor(s) causes a downstream cascade [more…]

The Epigenetics of Kidney Transplantation

March 26, 2019 Adam Alonzi

As the world’s population ages, the demand for organs and ways to optimize the transplant process will only grow. While the exact interactions between different factors must be elucidated further, it is clear that allograft rejection is partially mediated by epigenetic mechanisms such as histone acetylation, DNA methylation, and microRNAs. This framework is useful when applied to the host and the graft as well as to the immunologic and nonimmunologic reasons for rejection. At this time individualized treatment is limited [more…]

The Epigenetics of Chronic Kidney Disease

January 15, 2019 Adam Alonzi

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 20 million people in the United States and an estimated 8 to 16 percent of the world’s population. It is known that anomalous DNA methylation, aberrant histone alterations, and changes to microRNA expression all contribute to its pathogenesis. These epigenetic factors are crucial to the development and proper functioning of the kidneys. The manner and extent to which these factors modulate inflammation, fibrosis, and the transition of mesenchymal to epithelial cells is still being elucidated. The [more…]

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