Navigation Links
Inheritance outside DNA

Most people have heard that human inheritance is spelled out in our DNA and activated through our genes. Yet few know anything about epigenetics, a variety of methods that our cells have evolved to transmit heritable changes without changing DNA.

Among other things, epigenetics is crucial to differentiation, the process which makes one cell from another, and thus is at the heart of the mystery of stem cells.

Genomic imprinting is a type of epigenetic change that causes one copy of a particular gene to be turned off, depending on its parental origin. It works largely by altering the methylation patterns"the addition or subtraction of methyl groups"around a gene, but not the DNA sequence itself. These methylation patterns are reprogrammed when passed from generation to generation, carrying instructions related to the parent from whom that copy was inherited but without altering the DNA.

Abnormal methylation patterns in cancerous cells were discovered more than 20 years ago. Yet tumor cells have so many things wrong with them, including methylation abnormalities, that a precise cause-and-effect relationship between cancer and epigenetic alterations has been difficult to pin down, says Andrew Feinberg of the John Hopkins School of Medicine, who has been a pioneer in unraveling the epigenetics of cancer.

Now Feinberg has taken a new look at genomic imprinting, as a cancer-predisposing factor. Feinberg analyzed a common epigenetic alteration—found in 5?0 percent of the general population—that involves the loss of imprinting on an insulin-like growth factor gene called IGF2. Loss of imprinting of IGF2 has been associated statistically with individuals who have personal and familial histories of colorectal cancer. Turning to mice that modeled the loss of IGF2 imprinting, Feinberg found an increase in frequency of tumors in mice who also had mutations in a cancer-associated gene called Apc. In the mutant Apc mice, the loss of IGF2 im printing seems to particularly affect the behavior of the adult stem cells that continually regenerate the colon in mice. This probably plays a role in the increased risk of colon cancer, says Feinberg.

Spotting epigenetic markers like lost IGF2 in humans could be used in future cancer-prevention strategies. Says Feinberg, “It could be possible to screen for colon cancer risk by looking at the epigenetic changes in colon cells of healthy people.?

Source:American Society for Cell Biology

Related biology news :

1. Maine Researchers Find Exceptions to Old Rules of Genetic Inheritance
2. Living taste cells produced outside the body
3. Bacteria have their own immune system protecting against outside DNA

Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Transparency Market ... Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis Size ... to the report, the  global gesture recognition market ... and is estimated to grow at a CAGR ... 2024.  Increasing application of gesture recognition ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... LONDON , June 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transport Management) von Nepal ... ,Angebot und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich ... weltweit führend in der Produktion und Implementierung ... an der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... , June 1, 2016 Favorable ... Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics ... recently released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics Market ... Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global ... by 2021, on account of growing security concerns across ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today ... Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am ... and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis ... Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 ... single and multiple ascending dose studies designed to ... (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... (SC) either as a single dose (ranging from ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Andrew D ... Published recently in ... from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses ... care is placing an increasing burden on healthcare ... therapies. With the patents on many biologics expiring, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s latest features ... will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: