C. elegans Histone Methyltransferase Targets Regions to Silence
Developmental Biology & Stem CellsHistone Modifications

How a C. elegans Histone Methyltransferase Targets Regions to Silence

As an organism grows and develops, its cells are rapidly dividing and committing to different fates. Some, for example, will become immune cells, while others will become skin cells. What decides the different fates of these cells is how their genes are expressed. For example, to become a skin cell, …

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Losing Heterochromatin to Determine Cell Fate
Chromatin StructureDevelopmental Biology & Stem Cells

Losing Heterochromatin to Determine Cell Fate

In the moments after fertilization, the tiny mass that is the embryo sets in motion developmental programs that will transform it into a human being. One of the earliest steps in human development is the formation of the germ layers. Humans and other animals in the Chordata phylum, have three …

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Autism Awareness Month
Aging, Environment, & DiseaseDNA Methylation and Hydroxymethylation

April is Autism Awareness Month: Increased levels of 5-hmC may influence gene regulation in Autism Spectrum Disorder

The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased by roughly 30% since 2012. The CDC recently reported that one in 68 children in the United States is affected by ASD, compared to one in 88 just two years ago. This enhanced occurrence could be attributed to advancements in the …

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RNA methylation, stem cell differentiation, and RNA stability
Developmental Biology & Stem CellsRegulatory RNA

RNA Methylation: The Next Big Thing in Stem Cell Differentiation and RNA Stability

While DNA methylation is probably the longest studied and best understood epigenetic modification, methylation of RNA is gaining increased appreciation, especially recently.  N6-methyladenosine (m6A) in RNA has been observed to be the most frequently occurring epigenetic modification in mRNAs in eukaryotic organisms, but the function of this modification is still …

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Epigenetics, DNA hydroxymethylation, and liver cancer
Developmental Biology & Stem CellsTools & Technology

Somatic Cells Turned Pluripotent by Acid Treatment – Major Breakthrough, Or Too Good To Be True?

The potential use of induced pluripotent stem cells in medicine has the power to completely revolutionize the way physicians treat human diseases.  Imagine the possibility of treating diseased or damaged tissue by taking a patient’s own cells from an unaffected tissue, and turning them into healthy cells to replace the …

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Aging, Environment, & DiseaseDevelopmental Biology & Stem CellsDNA Methylation and HydroxymethylationImprinting and Inheritance

Dad’s Deficient Diet Harms His Offspring: Epigenetics To Blame?

Doctors have long known that a pregnant woman needs adequate levels of folate (also known as vitamin B9) to help prevent serious birth defects. New research in mice now suggests that a father’s level of folate prior to conception also plays a critical role in the baby’s health, through a …

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DNA hydroxymethylation and neuron development
Aging, Environment, & DiseaseDevelopmental Biology & Stem CellsDNA Methylation and Hydroxymethylation

DNA Hydroxymethylation and Neuron Development

It has been well known for many years that DNA methylation plays many roles in gene regulation and can direct different cell pathways such as apoptosis, differentiation, cancer, and aging. Although DNA methylation can be extremely stable – able to persist through multiple generations – it can also be quite …

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Epigenetics, DNA methylation, and chicken growth
Aging, Environment, & DiseaseDevelopmental Biology & Stem CellsDNA Methylation and HydroxymethylationImprinting and Inheritance

Chicken Little Can Blame It On Her Epigenetics!

While most of us will be hopping on the scale and hoping for a relatively low weight this holiday season, poultry farmers will be weighing their birds hoping for just the opposite. Chickens are the most commonly eaten poultry in the world and those bred for consumption are categorized as …

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