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…]

Nut Consumption Improves Sperm Parameters and May Alter Epigenome

January 5, 2021 Brandon Eudy

Male infertility is a huge problem affecting nearly 1 in 10 men of reproductive age. This issue is occurring alongside observed reductions in sperm count in men over the last several decades. Although the reasons for these observations are not yet fully understood, environmental toxicants and poor diet could both be involved by adversely affecting the integrity of sperm DNA. DNA methylation is important not only for proper functioning of sperm but also the development of the fetus. Moreover, methylation [more…]

Reversing Vision Loss by Restoring Youthful Epigenetic Information

December 15, 2020 Natalie Crowley

Aging is a fact of life that cannot be avoided. From the moment we are born, every part of us starts to age, and slowly over time, the cells and tissues in our bodies progressively decline in their ability to repair and restore themselves. Our eyes get hit even harder by this occurrence, especially nowadays, as our daily routines include more screen time and less sleep. But what if the aging process could be stopped or, better yet, reversed? In [more…]

Epigenetic Regulator TET1 May Prevent Beiging of Fat Cells

December 1, 2020 Brandon Eudy

Obesity is currently a major healthcare concern in the United States, and biomedical researchers are still working to untangle the complexity of the physiological changes that occur as a result of increased fat gain. Human beings have two major types of fat in their bodies which are white and brown adipose tissue (WAT and BAT, respectively). More recently, it was discovered that WAT can undergo a process called “beiging” that results in a darkening of the tissue color and increases [more…]

Researchers Characterize Chromatin State & Gene Expression Dynamics During Heart Development

November 17, 2020 Natalie Crowley

The human heart is arguably one of the most complex and vital structures of the body. It is also the first organ to develop in a fetus. That’s because it’s needed right away to efficiently transport nutrients and waste throughout the growing embryo. Once formed, the heart will continue to do its same job over the course of one’s life. If the heart does not develop properly, then a person’s health is at great risk. While we know a lot [more…]

Epigenetically Awaking Ancient Parts of Our DNA to Fight Cancer

November 3, 2020 Natalie Crowley

Buried within our DNA, there exists a vast amount of dormant genetic material – a remarkable percentage of which consists of ancient inserted elements that have found their way into our genome, only to be silenced for millions of years.  While the origins of most of these obsolete retroelements are not fully known, their inactive status is epigenetically controlled. It has been suggested that “turning on” these parts of our genome could be useful, especially in fighting off certain diseases [more…]

RNA Modification Detected in Swine Coronavirus

October 20, 2020 Natalie Crowley

Years before COVID-19 emerged out of China and entered the US, a lesser-known, highly contagious coronavirus (CoV) had already hit US soil, causing an outbreak of severe diarrhea in pigs. This swine CoV, referred to as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), first appeared in the US in 2013. It caused high mortality and morbidity rates in the pork industry, spreading rapidly throughout the US then further into Canada and Mexico. Although PEDV is not known to be transferable to humans, [more…]

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