Epigenetics Research

Epigenetics News -- ScienceDaily Read the latest research news on epigenetics, epigenetic influences on disease risk and gene silencing.

  • First step taken toward epigenetically modified cotton
    on May 31, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Scientists have produced a 'methylome' for domesticated cotton and its wild ancestors, a powerful new tool to guide breeders in creating cotton with better traits based on epigenetic changes. It's an important step towards a new way of improving crops, called epigenetic breeding, say researchers. […]

  • We are more than our DNA: Discovering a new mechanism of epigenetic inheritance
    on April 27, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    The existence of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance has now been demonstrated among Drosophila fruit flies. By temporarily modifying the function of Polycomb Group (PcG) proteins--which play an essential role in development--the researchers obtained fruit fly lines having the same DNA sequence but different eye colors. An example of epigenetic inheritance, this color diversity reflects varying degrees of heritable, but reversible, gene repression by PcG proteins. It is observed in both transgenic and wild-type lines and can be modified by environmental conditions such as ambient temperature. […]

  • Monounsaturated fats help roundworms live longer, researchers say
    on April 5, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Pudgy roundworms storing a particular type of fat live longer than their more svelte counterparts, according to a new study. […]

  • Unique genome architectures after fertilization in single-cell embryos
    on March 29, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Using a newly developed method, researchers have been able to shed light on the complexity of genome reorganization occurring during the first hours after fertilization in the single-cell mammalian embryo. The team of researchers has discovered that the egg and sperm genomes that co-exist in the single-cell embryo or zygote have a unique structure compared to other interphase cells. Understanding this specialized chromatin “ground state” has the potential to provide insights into the yet mysterious process of epigenetic reprogramming to totipotency, the ability to give rise to all cell types. […]

  • Molecular roadmap of human stem cell states
    on March 23, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Researchers have identified a set of molecular 'flags' that are present on the surface of human stem cells. By recognizing the flags, researchers can now accurately track and investigate stem cells as the cells transition between different states. This approach has revealed new insights into the timing and coordination of the changes in gene activity and modifications to the DNA that occur as cells are reprogrammed from one state to another. […]

  • After the epigenome: The epitranscriptome
    on March 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    A new article explains that RNA also has its own spelling and grammar, just like DNA. These 'epigenetics of RNA' are called epitranscriptome. […]

  • DNA labels predict mortality
    on March 20, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Methyl labels in the DNA regulate the activity of our genes and, thus, have a great influence on health and disease. Scientists have now revealed that an altered methylation status at only 10 specific sites in the genome can indicate that mortality is increased by up to seven times. Smoking has a particularly unfavorable impact on the methylation status. […]

  • To bloom or not to bloom: That is the question
    on December 19, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    When spring is approaching, how do plants decide that it is time to flower? A team of plant scientists has unravelled a new mechanism to explain this seemingly easy, but actually complicated question. […]

  • Cellular reprogramming slows aging in mice
    on December 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Scientists have rolled back time for live mice through systemic cellular reprogramming, according to a new study. In mice carrying a mutation leading to premature aging, reprogramming of chemical marks in the genome, known as epigenetic marks, reduced many signs of aging in the mice and extended their lifespan on average from 18 weeks to 24. […]

  • Researchers study plant aging, gain insights into crop yields and more
    on November 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    New insights into the mechanism behind how plants age may help scientists better understand crop yields, nutrient allocation, and even the timing and duration of fall leaf color. […]

  • DNA methylation affects superiority of hybrid plants
    on October 31, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Hybrid vigor refers to when a crossbreed plant or animal shows superior traits compared to its parents. A research group has discovered that a gene involved in maintaining DNA methylation is closely connected to hybrid vigor in Arabidopsis thaliana. This has potential applications for other cruciferous vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, and could lead to more efficient breeding of high-yield vegetables. […]

  • Insights into the development of sperm and egg cell precursors in the embryo
    on October 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Researchers have investigated the early stages of the development of cells called primordial germ cells and developed strategies to generate 'lookalike' cells in the lab. The generation of human ‘lookalike’ primordial germ cells is of importance for future fertility studies and the analysis of potential transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans. […]

  • Simulations help explain how genomes take form of 3-D chromosomes
    on September 26, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Scientists trying to solve the ultimate puzzle -- the architecture of the human genome -- have snapped another piece into place. They have developed a model to explain one part of the mechanism, the folding of chromosomes during a cell's interphase. Their work offers the possibility of predicting the three-dimensional organization of entire genomes from limited one-dimensional data. […]

  • New insights into 'plant memories'
    on September 21, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    A special stretch of ribonucleic acid (RNA) called COOLAIR is revealing its inner structure and function to scientists, displaying a striking resemblance to an RNA molecular machine, territory previously understood to be limited to the cells’ protein factory (the ‘ribosome’) and not a skill set given to mere strings of RNA. […]

  • Catching histones by the tail: A new probe to track histone modifications in living cells
    on September 12, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Scientists have developed a sensitive fluorescent antibody probe that specifically detects monomethylation of lysine 20 in histone H4 in living cells. This research has future implications and can be used to monitor the dynamics of histone modifications and genome integrity in single living cells without disturbing cellular functions. […]

  • How epigenetics regulate vital functions from bacteria to humans
    on August 4, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    A new study provides a comparative analysis of the evolution of epigenetic mechanisms from prokaryotes (bacteria) to simple eukaryotes (multi-cellular) to more complex eukaryotes (humans). […]

  • Extensive variation revealed in 1,001 genomes and epigenomes of Arabidopsis
    on July 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    An international team of scientists has sequenced the whole genomes and epigenomes of more than 1,000 Arabidopsis thaliana plants, sampled from geographically diverse locations. The collection of 1,001 genomes and 1,001 epigenomes not only illuminates new aspects of its evolutionary history, but also provides a comprehensive, species-wide picture of the interaction between genetic and epigenetic variation in this important model plant. […]

  • Bioengineers create first online search engine for functional genomics data
    on May 2, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Bioengineers have created what they believe to be the first online search engine for functional genomics data. This new search engine, called GeNemo, is free for public use at: http://www.genemo.org. […]

  • Survival of species suddenly looks better
    on April 27, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Findings on Norway spruce show how plants and animals can adapt better to climate change than previously envisaged. The spruce remembers what the temperature conditions were like when it was a seed, the researchers report. This memory helps it adapt to climate change. […]

  • Seeing cell to cell differences for first time explains symptoms of rare genetic disorders
    on April 1, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Every cell in the body has two genomes, one from the mother and one from the father. Until now, researchers have lacked the tools to examine -- in a single cell -the exact readout from each genome to make RNA. Using a new technology that allows researchers to do just that, an interdisciplinary team examined a rare disease in which these two genomes are expressed differently throughout the body, even sometimes in the same organ. […]

  • Biological mechanism passes on long-term epigenetic 'memories'
    on March 28, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    According to epigenetics -- the study of inheritable changes in gene expression not directly coded in our DNA -- our life experiences may be passed on to our children and our children's children. Studies on survivors of traumatic events have suggested that exposure to stress may indeed have lasting effects on subsequent generations. But how exactly are these genetic "memories" passed on? […]

  • A new way to discover DNA modifications
    on February 29, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    DNA is made from four nucleosides, each known by its own letter -- A, G, C, and T. However, since the structure of DNA was deciphered in 1953, scientists have discovered several other variants that are often added to the DNA sequences to replace one of the usual four letters. […]

  • New RNA letter regulates gene expression
    on February 16, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    A new study finds that RNA, considered the DNA template for protein translation, often appears with an extra letter -- and this letter is the regulatory key for control of gene expression. The discovery offers insight into different RNA functions in cellular processes and contributions to the development of disease. […]

  • Identifying plant, animal DNA switches much faster, cheaper
    on February 9, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Ecological epigenetics has now been further advanced thanks, to the development of a new research technique. Epigenetic research has grown immensely as a field of research all across the world. In humans, for example, it proved to be connected to the development of cancer cells and to environmental factors affecting the fetus during pregnancy. The latter includes factors such as smoking or the distress of wars. Interest in epigenetics has also recently entered the field of ecological and evolutionary research. […]

  • Songbird's reference genome illuminate key role of epigenetics in evolution of memory and learning
    on January 25, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    A well-known songbird, the great tit, has revealed its genetic code, offering researchers new insight into how species adapt to a changing planet. Their initial findings suggest that epigenetics -- what's on rather than what's in the gene -- may play a key role in the evolution of memory and learning. And that's not just true for birds. […]

  • Exact pol(e) position -- precisely where the polymerase is changed
    on January 21, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    A method for the thorough analysis of protein modifications has been developed by researchers who have mapped the phosphorylation sites of the RNA polymerase II enzyme, which is responsible for expressing our genes. […]

  • Grafted plants' genomes can communicate with each other
    on January 19, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Agricultural grafting dates back nearly 3,000 years. By trial and error, people from ancient China to ancient Greece realized that joining a cut branch from one plant onto the stalk of another could improve the quality of crops. Now, researchers have used this ancient practice, combined with modern genetic research, to show that grafted plants can share epigenetic traits. […]

  • Neils help removing epigenetic marks
    on January 12, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Two proteins have been identified that are important for the demethylation of DNA, report investigators. […]

  • Linking gene expression, DNA methylation in single cells
    on January 11, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    A new single-cell genomics protocol allows researchers to study links between DNA modifications (methylation) and the activity of a gene. The method is the first to enable parallel profiling of the transcriptome and epigenome of a single cell. The researchers used the method to reveal new epigenome-transcriptome associations relevant to the regulation of pluripotency in mouse embryonic stem cells; The method is potentially transformative for epigenetics research, as it reveals unprecedented detail of the epigenetic control of genes. […]

  • Xistential crisis: Discovery shows there's more to the story in silencing X chromosomes
    on January 9, 2016 at 1:09 am

    Nearly every girl and woman on Earth carries two X chromosomes in nearly every one of her cells -- but one of them does (mostly) nothing. That's because it's been silenced, keeping most of its DNA locked up and unread like a book in a cage. Scientists thought they had figured out how cells do this, but a new piece of research shows the answer isn't quite that clear. […]