Medical research

Single-cell technique could provide 'egg health' indicators

Using the power of single-cell analysis, researchers at the Babraham Institute have assessed the effects of age on egg cells (oocytes) in mice, particularly looking to identify genomic and epigenetic factors that relate to ...

Oncology & Cancer

Scientists find one-two punch for preclinical cancer models

A one-two punch of changing gene expression, then deploying immune checkpoint inhibitors, shows promise in battling one of the most treatment-resistant types of cancer in preclinical models, according to a new publication ...

Genetics

Epigenetic changes precede onset of diabetes

Epigenetic changes in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas can be detected in patients several years before the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (T2D). These changes are responsible for the altered methylation activity of ...

Genetics

Researchers offer insights into aging

What determines the life span of a mouse, alligator, dog or human? A team of scientists at the University of Georgia believes they have new insight into this age-old question.

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DNA methylation

DNA methylation is a type of chemical modification of DNA that can be inherited and subsequently removed without changing the original DNA sequence. As such, it is part of the epigenetic code and is also the best characterized epigenetic mechanism. Because methylation is a common capability of all viruses for self non-self identification, the epigenetic code could be a persistent remnant of ancient viral infection events.

DNA methylation involves the addition of a methyl group to DNA — for example, to the number 5 carbon of the cytosine pyrimidine ring — in this case with the specific effect of reducing gene expression. DNA methylation at the 5 position of cytosine has been found in every vertebrate examined. In adult somatic tissues, DNA methylation typically occurs in a CpG dinucleotide context; non-CpG methylation is prevalent in embryonic stem cells.

In plants, cytosines are methylated both symmetrically (CpG or CpNpG) and asymmetrically (CpNpNp), where N can be any nucleotide but guanine.

Research has suggested that long term memory storage in humans may be regulated by DNA methylation.

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