Epigenetic Factors Determine the Characteristics of B-Cells

June 8, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Most people know antibodies as the “warriors” of our immune system, helping us fight off invading pathogens. But not all antibodies are made for this purpose. Some perform necessary maintenance functions, such as clearing the blood of wastes like oxidized LDL cholesterol. These, too, are just as vital for keeping us safe and healthy. Understanding how we acquire antibodies of any type is of interest to scientists because irregularities in our ability to produce them could lead to disease development. [more…]

Impaired Muscle Gene Expression Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

May 25, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Type-2 diabetes comes with a slew of health issues, but one complication that patients often endure is muscle weakness. Poor muscle function makes everyday tasks difficult and reduces activity, which in turn, makes the condition even worse. While exercise and diet can help maintain a patient’s mobility, more information is needed to address the underlying causes that lead to diabetic muscle damage. Scientists at Lund University in Sweden have looked into this matter and have found evidence that one particular [more…]

Switching Off Genes with A New CRISPR Epigenetic Editing Tool

May 11, 2021 Natalie Crowley

CRISPR continues to make headlines as a powerful genomic editing tool. With a Nobel Prize, CRISPR-based COVID-19 diagnostics, and several successful clinical trials in the last year alone, the breakthroughs just keep coming. Now scientists are taking CRISPR to another level – the epigenome.  In a recent paper published in Cell, a team of researchers led by the Whitehead Institute has discovered a unique way to use CRISPR to precisely control gene expression. The new tool is called “CRISPRoff”, and it [more…]

Time Off Reverses the Adverse Epigenetic Effects of Shift Work Disorder

April 27, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Shift work has been on the rise over the past decade as the demand for real-time goods and services increases globally. This growth has never been more evident than during the past year, as the pandemic forced many people to rely on essential workers for increased medical care, home delivery goods, and other high-demand consumer items.  However, working odd hours, especially through the night, poses fundamental challenges to the body. Not only does it disrupt circadian rhythm or the body’s [more…]

Maternal Exercise During Pregnancy Epigenetically Improves Future Health of a Child, Regardless of Parental Weight

April 13, 2021 Natalie Crowley

It’s never too late to exercise – even if you’re pregnant. Not only does it benefit the mother by reducing her chances of getting gestational diabetes or other possible complications, but it will also improve the baby’s total health. New research reveals that exercise could even prevent certain metabolic disorders from being passed on from overweight parents, and the findings point to epigenetics. Women have always been encouraged to eat right and maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. But many [more…]

DNA Methylation at PON3 May Lead to Weight Loss in Humans Following a Hypocaloric Diet.

March 30, 2021 Brandon Eudy

Obesity has become a major pandemic in the United States and other countries and is a major burden to healthcare costs due to its co-morbidities including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. More effective ways to treat and prevent obesity and its related co-morbidities is a dire need currently being addressed by biomedical and nutritional sciences research. Weight gain and obesity are driven by a multitude of factors including diet, toxicant exposure, genetic background, and other lifestyle factors. An [more…]

Epigenetic Biomarkers May Help Assess a Father’s Likelihood of Having an Autistic Child

March 16, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Autism rates have risen steadily in the past two decades, now affecting an estimated 1 in 54 children in the US. Efforts to better understand this condition and treat it effectively have risen, too. However, the underlying causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain unclear, and there is no known preventative measure or cure. But with research on the rise, scientists are coming closer to some answers. For one, ASD appears to be primarily related to the father’s transmission. While [more…]

Epigenetics May Be Involved in Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

February 16, 2021 Vered Smith

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) affects about 40 million adults in the U.S aged 20-69 (1). As the name suggests, it is a loss of hearing due to loud noise exposure. The louder the noise and the more often a person is exposed to it, the more it harms their hearing. Although it is the second most likely reason of hearing loss (the first being age), there is currently no cure, and we don’t fully understand how loud noises biologically cause [more…]

Epigenetics May Explain How Tuberculosis Develops Antibiotic Resistance

February 3, 2021 Natalie Crowley

Tuberculosis (TB) may be one of the oldest and deadliest diseases in history, but it is still very much a threat to people all over the world. Despite the availability of effective treatments and efforts to control it, TB ranks among the top 10 deadliest infectious diseases today. Treatment usually includes a multiple drug course that is given over 6 to 30 months. Not only is this grueling for a patient to endure, but it is also sometimes ineffective due [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…]

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