News tagged with epigenetics

Related topics: genes · gene expression · dna sequences · dna methylation

Risk of obesity influenced by changes in our genes

These changes, known as epigenetic modifications, control the activity of our genes without changing the actual DNA sequence. One of the main epigenetic modifications is DNA methylation, which plays a key role in embryonic ...

11 hours ago
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How randomness helps cancer cells thrive

In a research effort that merged genetics, physics and information theory, a team at the schools of medicine and engineering at The Johns Hopkins University has added significantly to evidence that large regions of the human ...

Mar 27, 2017
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After the epigenome: The epitranscriptome

Our genome is made up of 6,000 million pieces of DNA that combine four "flavors": A, C, G and T (Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine). It is our Alphabet. But to this base we must add some regulation, just like the spelling ...

Mar 22, 2017
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DNA labels predict mortality

Various chemical modifications in the genome determine whether genes are read or deactivated. Methyl labels in the DNA play a key role in this "epigenetic" regulation of gene activity. Life style and environmental factors ...

Mar 20, 2017
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Epigenetics

In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence – hence the name epi- (Greek: επί- over, above, outer) -genetics. Examples of such changes might be DNA methylation or histone deacetylation, both of which serve to suppress gene expression without altering the sequence of the silenced genes. In 2011, it was demonstrated that the methylation of mRNA has a critical role in human energy homeostasis. This opened the field of RNA epigenetics.

These changes may remain through cell divisions for the remainder of the cell's life and may also last for multiple generations. However, there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism; instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently.

One example of epigenetic changes in eukaryotic biology is the process of cellular differentiation. During morphogenesis, totipotent stem cells become the various pluripotent cell lines of the embryo which in turn become fully differentiated cells. In other words, a single fertilized egg cell – the zygote – changes into the many cell types including neurons, muscle cells, epithelium, endothelium of blood vessels etc. as it continues to divide. It does so by activating some genes while inhibiting others.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA

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