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Diet and Cancer: phytochemicals as epigenetic modifiers

Diet and lifestyle can contribute to cancer development by inducing both epigenetic and genetic changes. These changes, in combination with an individuals’ original genetic make-up, can result in the disruption of key cellular processes leading to abnormal growth.1 Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. Dietary phytochemicals have …

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DNA methylation as age prediction marker

Whodunit? Using DNA Methylation in Forensics

For some reason crime scene investigations and murder mysteries seem to fascinate us. So much so, that the countless books and television shows never seem to get old. Like most things on television however, life in a forensics lab is often portrayed to be much more fantastical than real life …

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Imaging technique reveals a unique epigenetic state in mammalian genome

Imaging technique reveals a unique epigenetic state in mammalian genome

Epigenetic modifications are chemical processes that affect gene activity without altering the DNA sequencing. The two major DNA epigenetic modifications in the mammalian genome are 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), which are often referred to as the “fifth base” and “sixth base,” respectively. 5mC is generated by DNA methyltransferase (DNMTs) …

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Repurposing the CRISPR-Cas9 system for targeted DNA methylation

Numerous small- and large-scale studies have established a negative correlation between gene expression and methylation status of cytosine residues within gene regulatory elements, such as promoters and enhancers. However, the functional follow-up studies of the established relationship have been limited due to the lack of methods for precise manipulation of …

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(epi)Genes in Space!

Think back to when you were 17 years old. Most likely, your afternoons did not involve planning experiments that would be conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) while you were racing to track practice or chorus rehearsal after school. For Anna-Sophia Boguraev however, this is her reality. In July, …

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Cancer heterogeneity

A Mechanism of Cancer Heterogeneity Originated from Epigenetics and Microevironments

Cancer is a deadly disease that we are still fighting despite nearly 50 years of worldwide scientific efforts. In order to have a better understanding of cancer, we need to explore the underlying mechanisms of the cancer cells themselves. It was once believed that the major cause of the cancer …

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DNMT3

Choosy DNA Methyltransferases Choose CpG-Dense Regions

While changes in DNA methylation have been implicated in a variety of diseases, there is still much to learn about the cellular regulation of DNA methylation patterns across the genome. De novo methyltransferases DNMT3A and B are known to establish DNA methylation. In a recent paper, Baubec et al. investigated …

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Effects of tobacco and alcohol consumption on HPA axis DNA methylation

Meeshanthini V. Dogan & Robert A. Philibert Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City IA 52240 February 5, 2016 Smoking and alcohol consumption are leading preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States and around the world. While the use of these substances have …

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