Epigenetics, DNA hydroxymethylation, and liver cancer
Aging, Environment, & DiseaseDNA Methylation and Hydroxymethylation

DNA Hydroxymethylation as an Up-and-Coming Epigenetic Biomarker for Liver Cancer

Many scientists are hopeful that studying aberrant epigenetic patterns will help us find promising biomarkers for early diagnosis and prognosis of carcinogenesis.  Among such markers, there has recently been heightened interest in 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC), which is an enzymatically-modified form of 5-methylcytosine (5-mC).  A group of researchers in Europe investigated changes …

DNA methylation dynamics
Aging, Environment, & DiseaseDevelopmental Biology & Stem CellsDNA Methylation and Hydroxymethylation

The Same, Only Different: DNA Methylation Dynamics in the Human Genome

DNA methylation is one of the most common, and most studied, epigenetic modifications.  DNA methylation plays a central role in the development and differentiation of mammalian cells, and when DNA methylation is misregulated, it can lead to many different types of human diseases, including cancer and neurological disorders.  DNA methylation, …

Bisulfite-Free Methylation Detection
DNA Methylation and HydroxymethylationTools & Technology

Bisulfite-Free Method for Investigating DNA Methylation at Specific Regions

Many commonly used methods to investigate DNA methylation involve bisulfite conversion.  However, standard bisulfite-based methods for determining DNA methylation status at specific regions, such as gene promoters, can be time-consuming and expensive when investigating multiple regions and/or high numbers of samples.  The OneStep qMethyl system from Zymo Research helps researchers …

Aging, Environment, & DiseaseDNA Methylation and Hydroxymethylation

Mysterious Mechanism of Multiple Myeloma Explained by Epigenetics

If you are trying to understand an enemy so you can battle them more effectively, it is usually best to know as much as you can about them, including where they are attacking from.  A timely example, considering the upcoming Independence Day holiday on the 4th of July, is the …

Chromatin StructureHistone ModificationsTools & Technology

AACR Special Conference on Chromatin and Epigenetics in Cancer

The advancements in Next-Generation sequencing technology have recently helped researchers uncover the importance of epigenetic modifying enzymes in many human cancers.  Numerous different cancer cells contain mutations in genes that encode histone-modifying enzymes and chromatin-remodeling factors, leading scientists and doctors to conclude that misregulated epigenetic processes are of central importance …

Tools & Technology

Supreme Court Rules that Genes Cannot Be Patented

This is an exciting day for molecular biologists—with this discipline featured front and center in the recent Supreme Court ruling on gene patenting.   This past April, EpiBeat posted a summary that described the Supreme Court case to determine whether genes can be patented.  Today, the Supreme Court of the United …

Aging, Environment, & DiseaseDevelopmental Biology & Stem CellsImprinting and InheritanceRegulatory RNA

Old Dog, New Tricks? Cytosine Methylation in Long Non-Coding RNAs

Cytosine methylation (5-mC) in DNA is very common, and is generally associated with repression of gene expression.  DNA methylation was the first discovered type of epigenetic modification and remains one of the most actively investigated epigenetic processes, especially with respect to its use as a valuable biomarker for cancer and …

Patenting Genes
Tools & Technology

Patenting Genes: Human Invention or Product of Nature?

Leading up to the debate on gene patenting, this week marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix. On April 25th, 1953 the work of James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and other colleagues on the structure of DNA was published in Nature. Without …