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…]

Epigenetic Signature Found in Blood Predicts Chances of Getting Breast Cancer

July 2, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

If a woman could get a blood test telling her whether or not she’s likely to develop breast cancer, preventative measures could be taken, doctors could monitor her health, and she could explore potential options even before the cancer has started. A blood test like this could be possible as a result of new research by University College London (UCL) scientists, led by Professor Martin Widschwendter, head of the UCL Department of Women’s Cancer. The research team, whose study was [more…]

Dad’s Drinking Could Epigenetically Affect Son’s Sensitivity and Preference for Alcohol

June 18, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

According to a new study from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, a father’s excessive drinking behavior could set up his son for , even before conception. Results published in PLOS ONE demonstrate that mice show more sensitivity to alcohol’s effects and are less likely to drink it if their fathers were chronically exposed to the substance before mating. This recent animal study adds to the evidence linking heredity and the propensity for alcohol abuse. Previous studies support the inheritance of [more…]

Epigenetic Change Tied to Hardening of the Arteries

June 11, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New research suggests that when patterns of blood flow are disturbed, epigenetic changes occur to the genes in the cells lining blood vessels, contributing to hardening of the arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis. Characterized by the accumulation of inflammatory cells and fats in arteries, this disease often precedes strokes and heart attacks. Blood flow and the natural curves of the arteries are known to dictate where atherosclerotic plaques develop. Along with his colleagues, Hanjoong Jo, a biomedical engineer and professor [more…]

Do We Already Have A Drug That Could Epigenetically Erase Traumatic Memories?

June 4, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Scientists at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine discovered that the drug fingolimod, which is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), could potentially benefit individuals who wish to get rid of painful and traumatic memories. While MS is still not entirely understood, the disease involves a process that is immune-mediated in which the immune system attacks healthy parts of the body, namely the central nervous system – the spinal cord, brain, and optic nerves. Fingolimod, or FTY720, is a [more…]

Scientists Solve 30 Year Old Breast Cancer Riddle

May 28, 2014 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that mice lacking one copy of a gene called CTCF have abnormal DNA methylation and are markedly predisposed to cancer. This ground-breaking research helps solve a mystery that has loomed for over 30 years – which gene or genes cause the frequent loss of one copy of chromosome 16  in breast cancer cells. Dr. Gala Flippova, staff scientist at Fred Hutchinson, and his colleagues originally cloned the CTCF gene and mapped [more…]

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