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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-02-2011
Don’t worry if your brain’s not so stable after all. Neither is mine!
Johns Hopkins scientists investigating chemical modifications across the genomes of adult mice have discovered that DNA modifications in non-dividing brain cells, thought to be inherently stable, instead underwent large-scale dynamic changes as a result of stimulated brain activity. Their report, in the October issue of Nature Neuroscience, has major implications for treating psychiatric diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and for better understanding learning, memory and mood regulation.
Specifically, the researchers, who include a husband-and-wife team, found evidence of an epigenetic change called demethylation — the loss of a methyl group from specific locations — in the non-dividing brain cells’ DNA, challenging the scientific dogma that even if the DNA in non-dividing adult neurons changes on occasion from methylated to demethylated state, it does so very infrequently.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-30-2011
A recent study published in Science has shown that potential interbreeding between Neanderthals, Denisovans and Modern Humans may have helped boost modern man’s immune system. Many reviews have already been published on this subject (see Science 2.0 for a good review or the ScienceDaily news release) and so we won’t dwell on the subject in this post. However, in light of these findings we would like to share with you a YouTube interview with Svante Pääbo, a Neanderthal researcher, produced by The DNA Learning Center in 2009.
It’s interesting to see how far we’ve come in just 2 short years!
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-10-2011
GenomeWeb News is reporting that the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will award up to $15 million next year in grants to fund Diabetes Research Centers that will conduct a range of ‘omics-based and other interdisciplinary and translational research efforts.
In honor of this launch, we invite you to review some of the resources (including technical notes, review articles and video tutorials) that we have posted on high resolution melt analysis. Feel free to to click on any of the links below for further details:
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-01-2011
There is a huge buzz in the molecular biology community around epigenetic factors such DNA methylation and chromosomal orientation and their affect on molecular pathway activity. In two recent posts, we highlighted a new tool for epigenetic analysis which was recognized as one of the most innovative new products of 2011. However, according to a recent study published in Nature Biotechnology, structural variations involving large scale changes in DNA sequences should be just as “buzz-worthy” as epigenetics.
In a review of this article, Wired Science wrote that structural variations in DNA are more specific to individuals than single nucleotide polymorphisms, and may be more responsible than SNPs for genetic difference among people.
Truth be told, epigenetic factors may play a big role in determining which DNA sequences will be modified by our molecular machinery, so perhaps epigenetics does in fact trump (or perhaps even define), structural makeup. One commentator notes that the wired article has nothing to do with epigenetics, however, based on what I’ve noted above, I’m not sure that he is correct.
What are your thoughts? What’s more buzz-worthy? Epigenetics or Genome Structure?