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Category Archives: Epigenetics
Posted: August 5, 2021 at 2:21 am
Epigenetics is like a symphony conductor, who with just a gesture of the baton, conveys the message ... [+] to quiet the strings while turning up the horns. The symphony as a whole remains intact, but the sound changes entirely.
For all the hype, fear and misinformation that surrounds the application of gene editing, there is an equally powerful technology that offers much the same in potential benefit. This technology, epigenetics, is a natural process that has gone largely unremarked by consumers.
Yet epigenetics is introducing incredible promise in the search for ways to deliver sustainable food to a growing population on a planet increasing challenged by climate change.
Its time for an examination of epigenetics and the opportunities it brings, in contrast to GMO and gene editing technologies. The overall epigenetics market is projected to grow to a$35 billion market by 2028, largely on the basis of human health products in diagnosis and treatment. Yet the application of epigenetics to crop enhancement, animal health and aquaculture may be closer to fruition. Lets explore what we see as significant (if underappreciated) opportunities.
A simple explanation of epigenetics
Lets start with genetics, the study of genes, the DNA code containing the instructions to cells to create the many functions of the organism. The human genome contains about 3 billion base pairs of DNA the code that makes each person unique. This DNA code resides in every cell, essentially the same code in every cell in your body.
Epigenetics explains how the same DNA code can guide some cells to behave differently from others. Epigenetics studies the chemical compounds and proteins that can attach to DNA and direct the actions to turn a specific gene on or off expressing or silencing a gene.
Think of a symphony orchestra. Epigenetics would be the conductor, who with just a gesture of the baton, conveys the message to quiet the strings while turning up the horns. The symphony as a whole remains intact, but the sound changes entirely.
The term was coined in the mid-twentieth century by British biologist Conrad Waddington, who used it to describe the way cells gradually take on more specialized roles during the development of an embryo how some cells become blood, others bone and still others turn into nerves, for example. The prefix epi comes from the Greek and means on top of or above. So in this word,epigenetic, it describes the factors beyond the code that regulate the activity of the cells.
But importantly, throughout epigenetic changes, the DNA sequence never changes.
In Nobel-prize winner Paul Nurses new book,What is Life? Five Great Ideas in Biology, he explains epigenetics as the set of chemical reactions that cells use to turn genes either on or off in fairly enduring ways. As part of his chapter on Life as Information, he continues: These epigenetic processes do not change the DNA sequence of the genes themselves; instead, they often work by adding chemical tags to the DNA, or to the proteins that bind to that DNA. This creates patterns of gene activity that can persist through the lifespan of a cell and sometimes even longer, through many cell divisions.
Epigenetic changes are especially important because they are naturally occurring and happen continuously. Epigenetics is different from gene editing, which makes an irreversible alteration in DNA sequence by removing or inserting DNA. In some cases, like in a GMO or genetically modified organism, DNA from another source may be added. But epigenetic changes do not alter DNA and can happen in a reversible way, although some epigenetic changes can persist into later generations.
A new tool
In recent decades, weve learned about other factors that influence epigenetic switches, such as age, behavior, and environment, for example. Additionally, now we know the chemical processes that can turn a specific gene on or off DNA methylation, histone modification, acetone methylation and RNA interference or RNAi are the most common.
A particular breakthrough occurred whenDr. Sally Mackenzie, professor at Penn State University, found a plant gene, MSH1, that can trigger a plant to behave as though it is under stress. The reprogrammed plant invokes the mechanisms to manage its growth, producing greater resilience. When these epigenetically impacted plants are bred or grafted, their offspring produce higher yields and greater resiliency too.
Dr. Mackenzies findingsbecame the basis for the companyEpicrop Technologies Inc., which is one of the companies in which my firm, TechAccel, has invested. Our relationship with Epicrop has produced two subsidiaries that are advancing Dr. Mackenzies method to produce reprogrammed canola and berry crops with higher yields and greater resiliency. (More about this later.)
The introduction of CRISPR and other gene editing tools opened new opportunities for breeding and trait selection, fueled by the rapid development of ultra-high throughput sequencing technologies and their sharply declining costs. These same technologies support the blossoming study of the epigenome. With each new advance, we come closer to understanding the on-off switches in the genome that can increase yield, combat stress, enhance flavor or nutrition, retard spoiling or aging, and influence many more characteristics.
The use of epigenetics has become more popular for another reason: the friendlier regulatory environment. Since epigenetic changes occur continually, naturally, there is a lesser role for regulatory oversight than in gene-edited or GMO products. The epigenetic process doesnt change the genetic code, the only engineering is the method to induce a gene to switch on or off.
And there are advances in applying epigenetic inducements in an accelerated way, vastly faster than conventional cross-breeding techniques.Sound Agriculture, for example, has a novel and relatively simple oligonucleotide-based strategy for epigenetically silencing individual genes. (Sound Ag is another of TechAccels select investments and a partner in proof-of-concept studies in grape.)
New frontiers for epigenetics
The combination of advancing new methods of activating or silencing genes, the availability of high-speed sequencing for phenotypic analysis, and the likelihood of a simpler regulatory route to market are all factors that make epigenetics so promising.
Beyond that, there is a wide horizon of opportunity, with work underway in many fields for social and environmental benefit:
Agriculture:Significant advances have already been achieved in understanding how to use epigenetic modifications to improve a plants resistance to pathogens and stress, making it more able to adapt to heat and drought. RNAi, which Ivepreviously discussed, has been successfully applied to increase protein content, suppress starches, increase flavonoids and confer pesticidal benefits.
Behind the sunflowers, a field of epigenetically enhanced canola grows in field trials in North ... [+] Dakota.
In our own epigenetics programs, we are focused on two crops: the strawberry, which is notoriously vulnerable to soil-borne pathogens and limited in environmental range, and canola. In the strawberry, epigenetic breeding with selection for environmental stability, enhanced disease resistance and additional phenotypes is an attractive non-GMO alternative to enhance complex traits. In canola, a crop of growing importance (global demand estimated to reach 250 million tons by 2025, up from 150 million in 2015), we focus on improving yield.
Aquaculture:Research is exploring methods of using epigenetics toconfer heat tolerance to coral reefs, as well as improving feed andselecting traits for adaptation to pathogens, disease and impacts of climate change. The idea is totailor the fishto its aquaculture environments, and so maximize commercial production in a safe, effective and sustainable way.
Animal health:Livestock nutrition is an emerging area for epigenetic research, examining ways to help animals increase their nutrient uptake or better process feeds. Additionally, the entire application of epigenetics to inducing desired traits is an important area of discovery. As noted in a recentFrontiers journal article, Epigenetics is also attractive for animal breeding because it may help identifying part of the missing causality and missing heritability of complex traits and diseases.
In addition to these research areas, applications from human health in precision nutrition and personalized medications, monitoring of disease, and therapeutic treatments (epidrugs) will almost certainly be modeled for other plant and animal species.
This is why epigenetics advances deserve more attention, from researchers, investors and consumers alike. Its worth educating consumers on the opportunities of epigenetics as a tool to build resiliency in the face of climate change. Its up to us to use all available tools to improve our food supplies in ways that nourish, sustain and protect our planet. The race is on.
Posted: at 2:21 am
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VNRX - Market Data & News
VolitionRX Ltd (NYSE: VNRX) fell to close at $3.31 Tuesday after losing $0.04 (1.19%) on volume of 81,125 shares. The stock ranged from a high of $3.40 to a low of $3.28 while VolitionRXs market cap now stands at $175,074,880.
Volition is a multi-national epigenetics company developing simple, easy to use, costeffective blood tests to help diagnose a range of cancers and other diseases. Early diagnosis has the potential to not only prolong the life of patients, but also to improve their quality of life. The tests are based on the science of NucleosomicsTM, which is the practice of identifying and measuring nucleosomes in the bloodstream or other bodily fluid - an indication that disease is present. Volition is primarily focused on human diagnostics but also has a subsidiary focused on animal diagnostics.
Visit VolitionRX Ltds profile for more information.
The New York Stock Exchange is the worlds largest stock exchange by market value at over $26 trillion. It is also the leader for initial public offerings, with $82 billion raised in 2020, including six of the seven largest technology deals. 63% of SPAC proceeds in 2020 were raised on the NYSE, including the six largest transactions.
To get more information on VolitionRX Ltd and to follow the companys latest updates, you can visit the companys profile page here: VolitionRX Ltds Profile. For more news on the financial markets be sure to visit Equities News. Also, dont forget to sign-up for the Daily Fix to receive the best stories to your inbox 5 days a week.
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In Brief This Week: DiaSorin, Cue Health, Avacta, Pandemic Response Lab, TruDiagnostic, and More – 360Dx
Posted: July 21, 2021 at 1:59 am
NEW YORK In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week, Luminex said it became a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of DiaSorin,and the previously announced merger of the companies has been completed.
DiaSorin announced in a separate statement thatit completed the acquisition for a price of $37 per share, or a total equity value of approximately $1.8 billion. The acquisition gives it access to Luminexs multiplexing technology, a portfolio that will strengthen its current offeringand expand its presence in the US, DiaSorin said.
Cue Health said this week that its Cue COVID-19 Test Kit has received regulatory approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation for professional point-of-care use in India. The molecular test provides results within 20 minutes and connects to smartphones to report results. The test can also detect emerging variants, Cue said in a statement.
Avacta Life Sciences said this week that its diagnostics division has obtained ISO 13485 certification for the quality management system for the manufacture and distribution of its Affimer reagents for use in lateral flow, ELISA, and immunodiagnostic in vitro diagnostic devices. The ISO standard defines the requirements for quality management for a developer and legal manufacturer of diagnostic products and medical devices. Avacta said the certification provides a practical foundation for addressing regulatory requirements and ensures the safety of its products. The certification also means that a CE mark for the AffiDx SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow test can be transferred to Avacta from its partner Mologic, Avacta added.
The Pandemic Response Lab and Brio this week announced they are partnering to offer COVID-19 testing and variant surveillance for the entertainment industry. Brio will provide sample collection services, logistics, reporting, advanced software, and support to entertainment facilities. PRL, operated by Opentrons Labworks, will conduct PCR testing and genome sequencing of positive results to track variants. PRL can provide results from PCR testing in six hours or less, the firms said in a statement. Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ott Scientific said this week it is merging its four legacy organizations into one business called Ethos Biosciences. Ethos will operate four product lines and service brands American Bionostica for lateral flow products; Astral Diagnostics for histology and hematology stains and reagents; Exocell for research and clinical nephrology assays; and Astral Rx for pharmaceutical formulations. Ethos will serve the diagnostics market, including healthcare, biotechnology, veterinary, and food and environmental testing. It will operate in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and Logan Township, New Jersey.
The Access to Comprehensive Genomic Profiling Coalition, a group working to expand insurance coverage of broad genomic testing panels for advanced cancer patients, this week announced Strata Oncology as its newest member. Strata offers comprehensive genomic profiling using its StrataNGS panel, and combines patients genomic information with real-world data to provide information doctors can use to make personalized treatment plans. The company also operates a clinical trial platform.
TruDiagnosticsaid this week it has licensed mitotic clock technology from the Van Andel Institute and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Developed by epigenetics researchers at those institutions, the mitotic clock examines how many times a cell has undergone replication, and could be useful in clinical research and personalized medicine applications, TruDiagnosticsaid. For instance, the technology may be able to detect cell senescence, a biomarker for aging; unusually high levels of cell division, which may be a biomarker for cancer or other disease; and stem cell depletion. TruDiagnostic said that it will work with researchers at the Van Andel Institute to further develop the technology.
MedMira, a developer and manufacturer of rapid diagnostic tests, said this week that it has closed a C$500,000 ($396,648) equity investment with a Canadian investor to increase its operational capacity. The equity investment, fully diluted, represents less than 1 percent of its total shareholding. Under the terms of the deal, the investor will acquire 2,711,496 equity units at $0.18444 per unit.
ACT Genomics Holdings said this week that its next generation sequencing-focused operation and laboratory at the Hong Kong Science Park has received accreditation from the College of American Pathologists. The new accreditation significantly strengthens the NGS testing services and R&D capacity for the company, which already has CAP-accredited laboratories in Taipei, Taiwan, and Kanagawa, Japan. The 3,500-square-foot Hong Kong laboratory has a dual NGS testing platform from Illumina and Thermo Fisherand is run by a team of eight qualified laboratory technicians, ACT said. Apart from boosting the group's capacity for providing services and support, the three laboratories will continue to pursue research projects, helping ACT develop new products.
In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on 360Dx.
Go here to see the original:
In Brief This Week: DiaSorin, Cue Health, Avacta, Pandemic Response Lab, TruDiagnostic, and More - 360Dx
Posted: July 6, 2021 at 1:52 am
5 July 2021
It is becoming clear that our gene functions are influenced by a variety of epigeneticfactors throughout our lives and even before we are conceived. Environmental context may affect gene expression and which genes are 'activated' or not in children conceived via IVFmay be influenced by the dietary and lifestyle habits of an embryo's parents or grandparents, as well as by the culture medium in which eggs and embryos are kept in vitro. These findings have implications for the way we think about fertility, assisted reproduction, and genetic identity.
Epigenetics and bioethics of human embryonic development is a multidisciplinary project that spans disciplinary boundaries in order to better understand how scientists, clinicians, patients, and society should respond to these challenges. The project is funded by the University of Oslo Life Sciences, as part of its convergence environments initiative which has seeninterdisciplinary research groups formed to address major health and environmental challenges faced. The project started in 2017, and is now drawing towards its close. Here, three of our project members explain their work within the project.
Trine Skuland is a developmental biologist who works on epigenetic regulation of early embryo development.
When an egg and a sperm unite to form a zygote, numerous events need to be coordinated in order to achieve successful development. Out of the ~30,000 human genes, the right selection has to be switched on/off at the appropriate time point. No wonder these events are error-prone!
Upon fertilisation, extensive reprogramming happens in order to reset the epigenetic marks of the egg and the sperm DNA, and to set up a new pattern that is compatible with further embryo development. Epigenetic marks are chemical groups that are attached either to the DNA itself or to the proteins the DNA wraps around inside the cell nucleus. The pattern of these epigenetic marks will decide whether genes are activated or silenced.
When an embryo reaches the eight-cell stage, one of the most critical events takes place. This is when the first major set of genes is activated. My team is currently studying one specific epigenetic mark that we think is important for the embryonic genome activation and we hope our research will contribute in further characterisation of epigenetic factors involved in this crucial part of embryo development.
Our aim is to find another piece of the big genome activation puzzle in order to get a more complete picture of what is necessary for normal embryo development. This is as more than half of the embryos created during assisted reproduction develop abnormally and have to be discarded. Our ultimate goal is giving infertile people higher quality embryos to increase their chances of becoming parents.
Birgit Kvernflaten is a medical anthropologist who looks at prospective parents' experiences of assisted reproductive technologies.
My role in the project is to explore prospective parents' experiences and perspectives of practices and treatments used in assisted reproduction.It starts from the idea that their experiences do not take place in a vacuum, but are shaped within a particular socio-cultural and political context. The project further aims to explore and understand prospective parents' experiences and perceptions of the status of the embryo, embryo donation, research, and selection, in light of increased epigenetic knowledge.
This project has highlighted how prospective parents' experiences of infertility treatment are related to and shaped by social and cultural discourses on Norwegian family life.
In Norway, biological or genetic ties are considered central to people's understanding of kinship and identity, shaping couples' negotiations about gamete donation, family, relationships, and responsibilities. Yet people's understanding of genes is also ambiguous. As for the concept of epigenetics; it seems it has not yet entered the public's imagination.
Although the role of environmental factors in shaping who we are is acknowledged in Norwegian society, couples tend to view genetics in a rather deterministic way, in that they believe it shapes both looks, personality, and risk of disease. While difficult to truly grasp, the role of genetics is central to people's ideas about reproduction and parenthood. New epigenetic knowledge raises questions about the interface between nature and nurture, as well as opening up discussion related to the role mothers and their bodies play in determining the health of future offspring.
Joona Rsnenis a bioethicist who works on the philosophical and ethical implications of epigenetics.
Epigenetics raises challenging ethical issues throughout the human life cycle. Epigenetic transmission from one generation to the next may raise questions of moral responsibility of parents and grandparents. Epigenetics plays an important role in a range of chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Our lifestyle habits during pregnancy and even before, may influence whether our future children will live healthy lives or suffer from lifelong illness.
It is commonly known that we should eat healthily for our own sake, but these developments in our understanding of epigenetic could imply that we should eat healthily for the sake of our future children as well. Does this demand too much of future parents?
Epigenetics seems to put prospective parents under pressure since they would be partly responsible for their future child's health even before the child is conceived. Pregnant women are often advised to abstain from alcohol and tobacco, but maybe it is worth reminding them to eat healthily as well and this advice applies not only to future mothers, but to prospective fathers too, since epigenetic inheritance occurs through the male germline as well.
The interplay between science, anthropology, and philosophy in the context of epigenetics is complex.Skuland notes that a key aim for scientists working to unravel the epigenetic mechanisms involved in early embryo development, is to fulfil the needs of IVF patients to have their 'own' child. Dr Kvernflaten shows how genetics is central to patients' ideas about kinship and identity, yet epigenetics is still something unfamiliar to most prospective parents. Rsnen's example suggests that if parents did take on board some of the moral implications of epigenetics, they might find that the scope of their responsibility for future offspring is dramatically expanded.
Posted: at 1:51 am
SHAERI NAWAR | Published: June 30, 2021 12:56:05
Imagine a twin - Rahim and Karim. One day they visited a festival where Karim got lost and had ever since lived on the roadside. Rahim grew up in a stable normal family household while Karim grew up with less stability, less access to nutritious food and education but more laborious activity.
Forty years later, Rahim unexpectedly found his long lost sibling. More than the reunion with his brother, what shocked Rahim was the fact that his twin brother was not like him. Karim was shorter than him, had a deeper voice and no longer suffered from any genetically inherited disease that they both had in childhood.
As the traits are genetically inherited, Rahim decided to consult a genetic scientist. The scientist studied their genetic code and found that their DNA is exactly the same as it used to be when they were born. However, it turns out that they dont just look different but they actually have become genetically different just by living in different conditions despite having the same genetic codes. This is where epigenetics comes in the picture.
Epigenetics is the study of how the environment influences our genetic makeup. According to the national public health agency of the United States, The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) it is the study of how your behaviours and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence, but they can change how your body reads a DNA sequence.
An example can help to understand it better. Say, our genome is a paragraph and all of the letters and punctuations would be in the exact same order and give the paragraph a meaning. Now keeping the letters in the same order while shuffling the punctuations would potentially change the message of the paragraph for a reader. Similarly, no cell of the body will be able to read and follow the instructions in the DNA sequence as it results in epigenetic changes. Epigenetics literally means above genetics where a change is evident without a physical change in the DNA sequence.
What causes epigenetic changes?
Diet, physical activity, smoking, environmental pollutants, family relationships, psychological stress, working on night shifts, financial status and many more are the core causes of epigenetic changes.
How epigenetics works
The genetic mechanism of epigenetics is quite complex following a cascade of biological reactions. Nonetheless, a simplified explanation for the curious minds has been presented.
Genes act as the switch that controls everything our body does. Specific genes are there to do specific functions and show specific traits. This genetic switch needs to be turned on or off in order for a gene to work. This turning on/off phenomenon is controlled by a chemical (a methyl group) being added or removed from that gene. This phenomenon is called DNA methylation. For example, a gene that is normally supposed to remain off and if a methyl group is added to turn the gene on, then that could result in epigenetic changes.
The placebo effects
Placebo is a substance or treatment, based on the idea that our brain can convince our body into accepting a fake treatment and thus having a cure somewhat. But have you ever pondered about the mechanism behind it? How does a supposedly fake treatment magically improve health like real ones? Many would answer it happens because we are conditioned to think that we are getting treated which is partially correct.
Our thoughts influence the level of our hormones which run some of the brain functions. The brain sends signals to the cell to function in a certain way. The cell signals to switch a gene on or off to carry the cellular function. As a result, it all comes down to the regulation of the genetic switch. The bottom line is that our mind-body connection is reinforced by epigenetics.
For instance, the genome is the actual hardware of the computer (your body), then epigenome is more like the software which tells the hardware what to do even though the genome is going to do all the work. The fact is that you can influence your genetic expression.
Interestingly, epigenetic characteristics are passed on to children from parents as well. If somebody is a chain smoker, thats bad for the individual but it is thought that he wouldnt necessarily be harming his unborn child in any measurable way. However, this idea is changing pretty rapidly because some of the epigenetic information get stuck on the genomes and are passed from generation to generation. So, if you are a chain smoker, chances are your kids would have more affinity towards smoking than a non-smokers kid.
Over the last few decades, numerous scientific studies have been conducted to decode the science behind male infertility. As a matter of fact, the valid cause behind the mechanism of more than 50 per cent of male infertility cases is unknown. Owing to this concern, a number of studies have been conducted, which have inferred that the abnormal methylation of the sperm is highly correlated with male infertility.
Also, epigenetic changes are now considered as one of the hallmarks of many cancers. Disruption of epigenetic processes can lead to altered gene function and transform cells causing malignancies and cancer.
However, as the old saying goes, the cure lies in the problem. Epigenetics both causes and cures cancer. In a study published in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, it has been found that methylation that takes place in tissues and that is non-cancerous acts as a signal to identify the risk of tumour formation. So, this is emerging as a target for cancer prevention.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved seven epigenetic drugs for the treatment of haematological malignancies or cancer. Some of these drugs have been acquired from the enzymes that function during epigenetic occurrences.
All in all, from being the cause of some potential diseases and cure of some, epigenetics has enormous advantages. It gives one the power to shape oneself and as a matter of fact, soon epigenetics would be the personalised healthcare tool for individuals.
Shaeri Nawar is a life science researcher. He is currently a research fellow at Asian Network for Research on Antidiabetic Plants (ANRAP). E-mail: [emailprotected]
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Epigenetics The spirituality of genetics - The Financial Express
Epigenetics Market Research Insight 2021 Complete Overview & Qualitative Analysis by Major Companiess like Abcam Plc., Active Motif, Agilent…
Posted: at 1:51 am
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Posted: June 23, 2021 at 2:40 am
By Alice Klein
Epigenetics is the study of how genes are influenced by the environment.
Every person is born with a fixed set of genes, but they can be switched on or off in different cells and in response to lifestyle factors like diet, exercise and stress.
Genes, which are sequences of DNA, are turned on and off by small chemical tags called epigenetic marks (epigenetics literally means on top of genetics). The best-known epigenetic marks are called methyl groups.
Epigenetics explains how cells in the body can perform different functions, even though they carry the same DNA instruction manuals. For example, the liver and brain cells of an individual contain exactly the same DNA, but they behave differently because they have different epigenetic marks controlling the genes they can switch on and off.
Research over the last two decades has revealed that epigenetic marks can be altered by lifestyle and environmental factors like drinking coffee, folic acid intake, obesity, exercise, anxiety, smoking, and exposure to air pollution. This may help to explain why lifestyle factors affect our chances of developing certain conditions like cancer and diabetes, because epigenetic marks can activate or silence certain genes involved in disease progression.
There is some evidence that epigenetic changes can be passed down to subsequent generations.
For example, when male mice are trained to associate a cherry blossom smell with an electric shock, epigenetic changes occur in their sperm. These changes seem to be passed to their pups and their grand-pups, meaning they too show signs of fear when exposed to cherry blossom smells.
This cross-generational epigenetic effect is harder to prove in humans, but there are some hints that it occurs. For example, one study found that grandchildren of Swedish men who experienced famine had lower rates of diabetes, whereas grandchildren of well-fed men had higher rates. Another study found that sons of US Civil War soldiers who spent time in prisoner-of-war camps were more likely to die young than sons of non-imprisoned soldiers, possibly because they inherited epigenetic elements of their fathers trauma.
Some scientists are sceptical about whether epigenetic changes can be passed down in families because epigenetic marks are erased when sperm and eggs form embryos. Others, however, believe that some epigenetic marks are able to slip through this reprogramming process, or that there are mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance we havent discovered yet.
Because epigenetic changes are common in cancer, drugs have been developed to try to treat cancer by reversing these changes.
The first approved epigenetic cancer drug was azacytidine, which is used to treat leukaemia. It works by removing methyl groups from DNA in order to re-activate tumour suppressor genes that stop cancer cells from growing and dividing.
Since the approval of azacytidine in 2004, five more epigenetic cancer drugs have been approved, and several more are being evaluated in clinical trials.
One drawback of current epigenetic cancer drugs is that they alter the expression of many different genes, not just those involved in cancer, which can lead to side-effects. Research is currently underway to try to target them more precisely to relevant genes.
Read more from the original source:
Epigenetics | New Scientist
Posted: at 2:40 am
Biologists at the Universities of Bath and Vienna have discovered 71 new imprinted genes in the mouse genome, a finding that takes them a step closer to unraveling some of the mysteries of epigenetics an area of science that describes how genes are switched on (and off) in different cells at different stages in development and adulthood.
To understand the importance of imprinted genes to inheritance, we need to step back and ask how inheritance works in general. Most of the thirty trillion cells in a persons body contain genes that come from both their mother and father, with each parent contributing one version of each gene. The unique combination of genes goes part of the way to making an individual unique. Usually, each gene in a pair is equally active or inactive in a given cell. This is not the case for imprinted genes. These genes which make up less than one percent of the total of 20,000+ genes tend to be more active (sometimes much more active) in one parental version than the other.
Until now, researchers were aware of around 130 well-documented imprinted genes in the mouse genome the new additions take this number to over 200. Professor Tony Perry, who led the research from the Department of Biology & Biochemistry at Bath, said: Imprinting affects an important family of genes, with different implications for health and disease, so the seventy-plus new ones add an important piece of the jigsaw.
Close examination of the newly identified genes has allowed Professor Perry and his colleagues to make a second important discovery: the switching on and off of imprinted genes is not always related to DNA methylation, where methyl groups are added to genomic DNA (a process that is known to repress gene activity, switching them off). DNA methylation was the first known type of imprint, and was discovered around thirty years ago. From the results of the new work, it seems that a greater contribution to imprinting is made by histones structures that are wrapped up with genomic DNA in chromosomes.
A normal 4-day-old mouse embryo (L) and an embryo of the same age that has been manipulated to contain maternal chromosomes only (parthenogenote). At this stage, the embryos (blastocysts) appear similar, but the parthenogenote will soon die, underscoring the importance of inheriting imprinted genes from both parents. Different cell types are stained green or red. Credit: Dr. Maki Asami, University of Bath
Although scientists have known for some time that histones act as dimmer switches for genes, fading them off (or back on), until now it was thought that DNA methylation provided the major switch for imprinted gene activity. The findings from the new study cast doubt on this assumption: many of the newly identified genes were found to be associated with changes to the histone 3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3), and only a minority with DNA methylation.
Scientists have yet to work out how one parental version of a given gene can be switched (or faded) on or off and maintained that way while the other is in the opposite state. It is known that much of the on/off switching occurs during the formation of gametes (sperm and egg), but the precise mechanisms remain unclear. This new study points to the intriguing possibility that some imprinted genes may not be marked in gametes, but become active later in development, or even in adulthood.
Although it only involves a small proportion of genes, imprinting is important in later life. If it goes wrong, and the imprinted gene copy from one parent is switched on when it should be off (or vice versa), disease or death occur. Faulty imprinted genes are associated with many diseases, including neurological and metabolic disorders, and cancer.
We may underestimate how important the relationship between imprinting and disease is, as well as the relationship of imprinting to the inheritance of parentally-acquired disease, such as obesity, said Professor Perry. Hopefully, this improved picture of imprinting will increase our understanding of disease.
Reference: Genomic imprinting in mouse blastocysts is predominantly associated with H3K27me3 by Laura Santini, Florian Halbritter, Fabian Titz-Teixeira, Toru Suzuki, Maki Asami, Xiaoyan Ma, Julia Ramesmayer, Andreas Lackner, Nick Warr, Florian Pauler, Simon Hippenmeyer, Ernest Laue, Matthias Farlik, Christoph Bock, Andreas Beyer, Anthony C. F. Perry and Martin Leeb, 21 June 2021, Nature Communications.DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23510-4
Blunting the impact of poor social conditions in South Africa will have big health benefits – The Conversation Africa
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Poverty and socio-economic disparity are among the greatest obstacles facing South Africans. About 63% of children younger than six live in poverty. The country is also experiencing increasing levels of unemployment. In addition theres a high prevalence of femicide and inter-partner violence which is often associated with excessive alcohol consumption and substance abuse.
Harsh socio-environmental factors, especially when they happen in the early years of a childs life, can establish a developmental biology of misfortune. This involves neurobiological and epigenetic processes that go on to steer a persons life towards poor health, unrealised potential and a shorter life.
Neurobiology here refers to normal brain development. This is, at times, controlled by epigenetic mechanisms. These are biological reactions involving certain proteins that interact with DNA, physically altering its structure. Epigenetics can be influenced by our physical environment and surroundings. Adverse environments can profoundly alter gene expression and have detrimental health effects including disturbed brain development.
There are clear disadvantages to ignoring the physical environment in relation to adverse epigenetic programming. Firstly, it can result in a future population with deteriorated physical and mental health these individuals would also be more susceptible to infectious diseases. Secondly, it can affect the future health and economic development of the country.
Thats why child and adolescent health is an urgent priority and should be placed at the centre of the healthcare system.
In our recent paper my colleagues and I described how adverse socio-environmental factors in early life can programme the outcome of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental health disorders in adulthood. These noncommunicable diseases are on the rise and are taking a heavy toll on peoples lives, and the countrys healthcare system.
We set out the social and environmental conditions experienced by young South Africans, and discuss the potential contribution of epigenetics to the current and future prevalence of noncommunicable diseases.
We also unpack some early interventions that can help improve child and adolescent health. The cornerstones are: providing optimum nutrition, providing a secure environment, physical activity and education.
South Africa is one of most unequal societies in the world. Children who are exposed to such levels of poverty can suffer immediate and longterm effects. Children from poor families have higher rates of chronic illness and experience worse health in adulthood.
More than half (55%) of the population experiences poverty, with childhood poverty affecting 63% of children.
With diet being intertwined with emotions, cognition and behaviour, close attention should be paid to nutrition.
Research has shown that certain diets are hugely beneficial to peoples health. One example is a diet thats high in polyphenols. These are plant compounds found in tea, chocolates, herbs and spices, fruit, vegetables and nuts. Several have been shown to be able to reduce illnesses by preventing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain.
On top of this, South Africa sits on a botanical goldmine of indigenous medicinal plants. Many have anti-obesity, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic as well as anti-ageing properties among others.
Finally, while the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and childhave long been known, South Africa, like most countries, is still not doing enough to support mothers to breastfeed, despite the immense economic implications.
The failure to optimise nutrition, especially during the critical periods of development for vulnerable young children, should be avoided at all costs. There is a definite requirement for efforts directed at improving the national diet.
But healthier foods are far more expensive than less healthy, nutritionally poor foods. Products like lean meat, fish, fruit and vegetables generally cost more than oil heavy processed foods which contain more sugar and fat.
This makes the promotion of a quality diet difficult, because it is simply unaffordable for many South Africans.
International research has shown that the best strategies for changing the dietary environment in favour of healthier foods are those aimed at population level, and are accomplished by mass media nutrition campaigns and transparent food labelling. Some countries have taken more drastic action through regulation and taxation of unhealthy foods.
South Africa needs champions for child and adolescent health. The plight of young children needs to be prioritised and placed at the centre of the countrys goals.
An early investment in childrens health, education, development, security and well-being would provide benefits that compound during a persons lifetime. It would improve their prospects and those of their children and thus society as a whole.
Global Epigenetics Drugs and Diagnostic Technologies Market Analysis by Emerging Growth Factors and Revenue Forecast to 2026 The Manomet Current -…
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Global Epigenetics Drugs and Diagnostic Technologies Industry Research Report, Growth Trends and Competitive Analysis 2020-2026
The global Epigenetics Drugs and Diagnostic Technologies market size is projected to grow from USD XX million in 2020 to USD XX million by 2025, at a CAGR of XX%. The industry is expanding due to increased demand from a variety of applications around the world. COVID-19 is expected to slow the rate of growth. During the forecast era, however, the end of the lockdown and recovery in the end-use industries would boost demand.
The overall power tools markets growth has also been forecasted for the years 2020-2024, based on previous growth patterns, growth factors, and current and future trends. The major players dominating the power tools market are 4SC, Acetylon Pharmaceuticals, Astex Pharmaceuticals, CellCentric, Celleron Therapeutics, Celgene Corporation, Chroma Therapeutics, Epigentek Group, Eisai, EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Base Genomics, and Oryzon Genomics The companies have been profiled in the report providing a detailed analysis of their financial information and business strategies.
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Global Epigenetics Drugs and Diagnostic Technologies Market: Regional Segment Analysis
This report provides pinpoint analysis for changing competitive dynamics. It offers a forward-looking perspective on different factors driving or limiting market growth. It provides a five-year forecast assessed on the basis of how they Epigenetics Drugs and Diagnostic Technologies Market is predicted to grow. It helps in understanding the key product segments and their future and helps in making informed business decisions by having complete insights of market and by making in-depth analysis of market segments.
Key questions answered in the report include:
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Trending factors influencing the market shares of the Americas, APAC, Europe, and MEA.
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All the research report is made by using two techniques that are Primary and secondary research. There are various dynamic features of the business, like client need and feedback from the customers. Before (company name) curate any report, it has studied in-depth from all dynamic aspects such as industrial structure, application, classification, and definition.
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It helps in making informed business decisions by having complete insights of market and by making in-depth analysis of market segments
TABLE OF CONTENT:
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2 Global Growth Trends
3 Market Share by Key Players
4 Breakdown Data by Type and Application
5 United States
9 Southeast Asia
11 Central & South America
12 International Players Profiles
13 Market Forecast 2019-2025
14 Analysts Viewpoints/Conclusions
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