:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-22-2011
While many scientists have espoused the theory that each type of cancer cell comes from a unique cancer stem cell, research out of the Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard and Whitehead Institute points to a much more decentralized society, with cancer cells able to interconvert between different types.
To characterize how cancer maintains cellular equilibrium, the researchers studied two different breast cancer cell lines and examined three different cell states that were similar to normal breast epithelial cell types, known as basal, luminal, and stem-like. The team sorted the different cell types from each other and then grew their relatively pure populations for six days. Remarkably, each of the three populations quickly returned to the same equilibrium – and populations of non-stem cells generated new stem-like cells.
Click here to read more.
Citation: Gupta PB et al. Stochastic state transitions give rise to phenotypic equilibrium in populations of cancer cells. Cell. August 19, 2011. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.07.026
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-04-2011
Bio-Rad Laboratories recently launched the Precision Melt Supermix, which is a high-perfomance supermix for both genotyping and epigenetic analyses.
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?
To read more visit Your Genome Structure, Not Genetic Mutations, Makes You Different
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-28-2011
In these lazy summer days I find myself spending more time looking for and reading interesting/humorous blog posts by fellow scientists. My latest find is a blog by American PhD candidate “Try Nerdy” (TN). Although I don’t know his/her real name, (it is not listed in the TN about page), I do know that TN is a molecular biologist who helps distill complicated scientific material into easily digestible bits for his/her non-scientist readership. TN also has a great sense of humor and publishes some captivating stuff including TN’s latest post “The Inside Jokes of Scientists.”
If you were ever curious as to how crazy sounding proteins such as R2D2 and C3PO got their names, check out TN’s blog.
I am a scientist and despite TN’s claim that Try Nerdy is not focused on scientists I will continue to follow. Keep up the good work TN!
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-27-2011
In this slideshow, you will learn the latest epigenetic techniques including:
- discriminating epigenetically inactive chromatin from active chromatin
- discriminating between aberrant and Monoallelic DNA methylation
- predicting gene expression levels via chromatin structure assay
- analyzing how DNA methylation affects promoter activity