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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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…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
The human body is made up of about 100 trillion cells, but not all these cells are ‘real’ human cells. About one-tenth, in fact, are tiny organisms like bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live within us and on us. These organisms are collectively known as microbes and they play an essential role in human health and disease. Yet, exactly how they function and are affected by environmental changes is not entirely understood, and even less is known about how the [more…]
DNA methylation is an essential epigenetic mechanism that plays a critical role in the regulation of gene expression during embryonic development. The erasure of Tet-oxidized 5-Methylcytosine (5-mC) is not only important during the reprogramming steps but as well as the cell differentiation stages of development. In their study, Kweon et al. (2017) have shown that the SOS response-associated peptidase domain protein, SRAP1, binds to Tet-oxidized forms of 5-mC in DNA and selectively cleave DNA containing Tet-oxidized 5-methylcytosine. They also reveal [more…]
It is a challenge to determine a cause and effect relationship between a distinct epigenetic mark and the ultimate behavior and function of the affected cell. However, CRISPR/Cas9 has provided the opportunity for investigators to manipulate the epigenome and observe the effects that it may have on cell function, development, and differentiation. The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been further expanded with the engineering of the nuclease-deficient version, dCas9, which can be used to directly manipulate a specific regulatory region or epigenetic [more…]