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…]

Epigenetics Provides Insight on Potential Relief for Memory Disorders

September 11, 2018 Tim Barry

The formation of memories has been a popular research topic among the science community.  They occur by a familiar stimulus reactivating a specific group of neurons, but not much else is known about the exact logistics involved in how a memory is created and retained. Many memory-related disorders like Alzheimer’s and PTSD directly affect a person’s brain chemistry and are undoubtedly detrimental to their character and mental health. In a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from 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…]

Epigenetic Mechanism May Reprogram Heart to Fail

August 28, 2018 Tim Barry

Heart disease is one of the most prevalent ailments among Americans, and can often be deadly. According to the CDC, about 1 in 4 deaths is directly related to heart disease, and it is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the US. Risk factors that contribute to the development of heart disease include poor diet, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, and smoking. Coronary artery disease is the leading type of heart disease and is [more…]

Epigenetic Changes Due to Aging May Lead to Cancer

August 21, 2018 Tim Barry

Throughout our lives, all cells in our bodies experience a normal life cycle of growth, maturity, and death. During this time, our cells normally experience damage to DNA by normal functions of the metabolism, or exposure to certain environmental factors like UV light. Ordinarily, our body is able to repair the damage done to the DNA in order to restore healthy cell function. The older we get, the more DNA damage we experience, and if damaged DNA is unable to [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…]

Diet and Good Gut Bacteria Could Epigenetically Change Your Gene Expression

August 7, 2018 Tim Barry

There are many different diets available in the nutritional world today that could dramatically adjust our gut bacteria, depending on what we consume. High-fat, low-carb diets, low-fat, high-carb diets, fasting, and cleanses are just a few examples of popular diets, and even what some may call “fads”, which might leave a person confused (and hungry). Maintaining dietary health is one of the most important factors in ensuring a long, prosperous life. Often times we forget to prioritize healthy eating habits [more…]

Social Deficits of Autism Reversed By Epigenetic Drug

July 31, 2018 Tim Barry

It is estimated that 1 in 59 children in the United States fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. Autism spectrum disorder  (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects the nervous system and is characterized by challenges with speech, social skills and communication.  Many factors can determine a child’s predisposition to developing autism, such as genetic mutations during brain development, chemical imbalance, and certain genetic disorders like tuberous sclerosis  and fragile X syndrome. Autism has been an incredibly difficult disease to [more…]

Epigenetic Mechanism Shows Promise in the Fight Against HIV Latency

July 24, 2018 Tim Barry

HIV is a chronic viral infection that attacks the immune system, eventually incapacitating its ability to fight infection leaving the person vulnerable to the development of AIDS, which often leads to death. Anti-retroviral therapies can help to control the virus, but complete eradication of the virus has been tricky to achieve due its stealthy ability to hide from the immune system. HIV is unable to reproduce itself, so it relies on hijacking cellular machinery in order to ensure its survival. [more…]

Epigenetic Marks From Parents Could Influence Embryo Development and Future Health

July 17, 2018 Tim Barry

DNA is the blueprint from which most living organisms are built. It makes up the genes that carry the distinctive characteristics and information that determine physical appearance and health, and it makes everybody unique. At the beginning of life, human embryos inherit genes from both their mother and father, and although the actual genes cannot be altered, the way they are expressed can be influenced by epigenetics. Parents can have a huge epigenetic influence on the development of an embryo [more…]

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