Inheritance and Transmission of Epigenetic Memory Across Generations

September 30, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New research has been suggesting that parents can transmit changes to their gene expression to their children. The heritable changes occur as a result of environmental stresses and are known as epigenetic modifications. A previous article covered the epigenetic transfer of nutrition “memory” across several generations. Now, a recent study by researchers from the University of California in Santa Cruz, demonstrates the transferring of epigenetic memory across generations as well as from one cell to another during early development. The [more…]

The Precise Power of CRISPR/Cas9 System Creates Exciting Opportunities for Genetic and Epigenetic Editing

September 23, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A breakthrough genome-editing technique known as CRISPR has been shown by MIT biological engineers to disrupt a single parasite gene in a matter of weeks, with a success rate as great as 100 percent. In light of this and other recent research, the possibilities for the CRISPR/Cas9 system are substantial for precisely editing the genome and epigenome. With this new approach quicker gene analysis and bolstered drug-development efforts can occur, according to associate professor of biological engineering at MIT, Jacquin [more…]

Epigenetic Regulation and Drug Therapy Could Offer New Treatment for Kidney Stones

September 16, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Although kidney stones are common and often cause excruciating pain, there are few options for treatment and a surprising lack of drugs to medicate the condition. In a previous blog post we discussed how a drug that was already being used to treat multiple sclerosis showed promising results for removing painful memories of those who experienced trauma. Now, a new mouse study at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that a class of drugs which have [more…]

Epigenetic Mechanism Proposes Potential Markers for Depression and Anxiety

September 9, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Stress affects everyone differently – some people perform well and can adapt under stress but for others it can be severely debilitating. A previous blog article highlighted stress-related research that uncovered a connection between the common epigenetic mechanism DNA methylation and serotonin gene expression. Now, new research from Rockefeller University further expands our understanding of stress and how epigenetic molecular mechanisms may contribute to stress-related disorders. By using mice with similar genetic makeup and investigating the epigenetic mechanism known as [more…]

Expanding Knowledge of DNA Methylation and Alzheimer’s Disease

September 2, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Researchers from Rush University Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) conducted a study recently demonstrating how an epigenetic alteration to DNA of the brain is connected to Alzheimer’s disease. The team looked at DNA methylation, which is an epigenetic mechanism that occurs when a methyl group is added to the cytosine or adenine of DNA. This epigenetic mechanism, as well as others such as DNA demethylation and histone acetylation, have the ability to turn on or off genes. [more…]

Jumping Enzyme Discovered in Nucleus Influences Epigenetic Regulation

August 26, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A study led by a team of researchers at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta sheds light on a new, interesting way metabolism is connected to DNA regulation. The discovery may add an important piece to the puzzle in scientists’ quest to understand diseases and their epigenetic basis. One such disease commonly focused on is cancer. Inside the cell’s nucleus, DNA tightly winds itself around histones, a specialized type of protein responsible for the formation [more…]

Molecular Memory and a Two-Step Process of Epigenetic Inheritance

August 13, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New evidence supports the epigenetic mechanism by which acquired traits may be inherited. The research found that cells silence genes by recognizing chemical tags or marks that are passed down through the generations rather than using information from the hardwired DNA sequences. The chemical tags on the DNA act as a molecular memory which is used by cells to recognize and then silence certain genes in successive generations. The research, conducted by scientists at Indiana University, illustrates how plant cells [more…]

Epigenetic Tags on Serotonin Transporter Gene Linked to Stress

August 6, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A new study offers an epigenetic explanation as to why some people are more reactive to stress or more vulnerable to disorders related to stress. A team of researchers at Duke University have found that methylation of a gene linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and clinical depression can affect how an individual reacts to threats or stress. Recently published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the results highlight the link between the common epigenetic mechanism of DNA methylation and [more…]

Epigenetic Transfer of Nutrition ‘Memory’ Ends Before Great-Grandchildren

July 17, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

A child is at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and obesity if his or her mother was undernourished during pregnancy. This risk is caused in part by epigenetic changes thought to persist through generations, but it’s uncertain at which generation these changes stop affecting offspring. Researchers at University of Cambridge give us insight into the temporality of this epigenetic “memory” of nutrition using a mouse model and demonstrate its persistence in mice sperm. In a study published [more…]

Delivery by Cesaerian Section Linked to Epigenetic Changes in Infant’s Blood Stem Cells

July 9, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

The way a baby is delivered may epigenetically impact stem cells of the infant, according to a new study at Karolinska Institutet. Their findings could help scientists understand the differences between various modes of delivery, for example, why babies delivered via cesarean section are statistically more susceptible to immunological diseases. It’s still uncertain whether this epigenetic mechanism is long-term or temporary. Women are now more than ever electing to give birth by cesarean section, the most popular surgical procedure in [more…]

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