Oncology & Cancer

Epigenetic 'priming' boosts ovarian cancer immunotherapy

An epigenetic inhibitor can boost immune system activity in patients with ovarian cancer, making them more suitable for treatment with immunotherapy, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in the Journal of ...

Gerontology & Geriatrics

Bolstering the reliability of epigenetic clocks

Epigenetic clocks are powerful biomarkers based on DNA methylation that were developed to track aging in population studies, clinical trials, and personal health applications. Intended to measure biological age, they strongly ...

Genetics

Epigenetic biomarkers predict CVD risk

Epigenetic biomarkers may reflect past cardiovascular health exposures and predict cardiovascular disease in the future, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in the journal Circulation.

Oncology & Cancer

13 special genes linked to epigenetic changes in cancer samples

Reducing the burden of cancer in individuals and society is a major area of concern globally. In Norway, by the end of 2020, 35,515 people were newly diagnosed with cancer and more than 300,000 people were already living ...

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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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