Posts tagged: epigenetics

Making sense of methylation and methodology

ClEp blog

New research published today in Clinical Epigenetics questions the methods used in some studies for assessing DNA methylation in cancer, calling for the use of only quantitative techniques. This is a guest blog by Dr Annette Lim (Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, Australia) and Dr Alexander Dobrovic (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Australia) to explain more about the importance of how we measure DNA methylation in cancer.

Given the critical role of methylation in embryogenesis, it is not difficult to expect that dysregulation of methylation will be a fundamental element in the evolution of uncontrolled cell cycling within the cancer genome. As such, the identification of altered methylation in tumours has held promise of unlocking …

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A new test to predict breast cancer risk

Image credit: Danvasilis/Wikimedia Commons

A simple blood test is currently in development that could help predict the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer, even in the absence of a high-risk BRCA1 gene mutation, according to research published today in Genome Medicine. So what was found, and what could this mean for future cancer prevention and treatment?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, and it’s highly likely you’ll know someone close to you who’s been affected by it.

My partner’s mother, soon to be my mother-in-law, was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly three years ago. What was particularly scary for all of us when we found out about her diagnosis, was that her sister had died of the same disease around …

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Endocrine disorders: the impact of stress and epigenetics

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Endocrine disorders span a range of conditions, from diabetes and thyroid disease to stress-related conditions. Stress has been linked to a number of health problems, with the most recent evidence suggesting its involvement in male infertility, allergies and headache.

During the normal stress response, glucocorticoid hormones secreted by the adrenal glands cause several physiological effects, but chronic stress can result in continual release of these hormones, leading to serious mental and physical health problems.

The impact of stress on chronic disease

In a video Q & A published in BMC Medicine, George Chrousos talks about the impact of stress on chronic non-communicable diseases including obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and …

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A shock of change felt down the generations

BioMed Central CC-BY

Analysis of 19th century harvest records from an isolated Swedish community reveals that female grandchildren have an increased risk of death from heart disease if their paternal grandmother experienced a drastic change in food availability in their childhood.

Staying stress free, keeping fit, eating well – these are all things we’re advised to do to keep our hearts healthy. But have you ever thought about whether what your parents and grandparents did could be affecting you too? New research has suggested that the diet experiences of even your grandparents could have an effect on your own health.

Food shortage and famine are clearly not good for you. Associations between higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke among adults who suffered famine …

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‘Non-coding RNA’ thematic series – call for submissions

RNA (small) mediated DNA methyl 6931238578422685


Epigenetics & Chromatin is inviting submissions for a thematic series on non-coding RNA, edited by Frank Grosveld (Erasmus University Medical Center, Netherlands) and Steven Henikoff (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, USA).

This article collection focuses on understanding the mechanisms of non-coding RNA, describing insights into the biogenesis and activity of non-coding RNAs, their interaction with chromatin, and novel methods for analysis and manipulation of RNA-mediated regulation.

The thematic series is open for the submission of Research articles on all aspects of non-coding RNA, including novel findings related to long-, short- and micro- RNAs. Articles already published in the series include an insight into the silencing mechanism by the long non-coding RNA XIST that …

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Expert insights into epigenetic interactions and processes

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To mark the BioMed Central conference Epigenetics & Chromatin: Interactions and processes that took place in Boston earlier this year, the open access journal Epigenetics & Chromatin has published a series of review articles that focus on addressing some of the biggest questions in epigenetics today.


The final review of the series, by Anton Wutz (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), has been published today, discussing how haploid genomes illustrate epigenetic constraints and gene dosage effects in mammals. In this review the authors, who have significantly advanced our understanding of haploidy in mammals, provide an insightful summary of systems available to study haploid genomes.


Other reviews in the series include a description of the role of the …

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Proceedings from the Birmingham Cancer Epigenetics conference


In May 2013 the first Birmingham Cancer Epigenetics Conference took place at the University of Birmingham, UK. With research into translational epigenetics, and particularly cancer epigenetics, growing rapidly it was a perfect time for the meeting organizers, including Ciaran Woodman, Bryan Turner, Constanze Bonifer, and the meeting sponsors, Cancer Research UK and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, to hold this inaugural conference.



The proceedings from this meeting were published last week as a supplement in Clinical Epigenetics, including abstracts from talks by Adrian Bird (University of Edinburgh) on DNA methylation in a rare form of autism, Jason Carroll

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Epigenetics may be the future for bird farming

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Epigenetics could play an important role in the future of bird breeding and selection methods, according to a new review published in Genetics Selection Evolution today. There is hope that our increasing knowledge of epigenetic influence on development may help the future bird farming industry to meet the growing world food demand.  Frésard et al. discuss the existing research into epigenetic mechanisms in birds, and how this may affect development of various economically relevant traits in adult farmed birds. Previous research has confirmed that many different epigenetic phenomena cause phenotypic variation in mammals, and we now learn that many of these mechanisms may also be relevant to birds.

Reciprocal effects, involving different contributions of the sire and dam …

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Epigenetics & Chromatin: Interactions and processes – a BioMed Central conference



BioMed Central will be hosting this inaugural conference in association with its journal Epigenetics & Chromatin at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, on the 11-13 March 2013.


The conference will have a strong focus on how epigenetic components come together to regulate cellular processes. “Epigenetics research is progressing from a listing of component parts to a fuller understanding of dynamic processes,” states Steven Henikoff (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center), conference organizer and co-Editor-in-Chief of Epigenetics & Chromatin. Henikoff continues that “Many disease states are increasingly recognized as having both a genetic and an epigenetic basis, and chromatin regulators are often found to be cancer driver genes,”. This conference will highlight how the discovery of these epigenetic changes …

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