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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/14/2016)... March 14, 2016 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... commerce market, announces the airing of a new series of ... week of March 21 st .  The commercials will air ... popular Squawk on the Street show. --> NXTD ... growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a new ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... BLUE BELL, Pa. , March 10, 2016   ... U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing ... in San Diego to help identify ... United States . The test, designed to help determine ... outdoor, pedestrian environment, began in February and will run until ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... 3, 2016  FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, ... Research & Development, Leadership in Education, and, in a ... 9 th year of the FLEXI Awards and ... individuals from past years . Judging was done ... set of criteria, by a panel of non-affiliated, independent, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016 Elekta ... latest update to its industry-leading treatment planning software, is ... Monaco version 5.11 provides significant ... attain calculation speeds up to four times faster than ... With the industry,s gold standard Monte Carlo ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... and ongoing support for Connecticut's innovative, growing companies, today announced the launch of ... and financial technology (fintech) companies. , “VentureClash looks to attract the ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... 28, 2016 , ... Morris Midwest ( http://www.morrismidwest.com ), a ... at its Maple Grove, Minnesota technical center, May 11-12. The event will ... Almost 20 leading suppliers of tooling, accessories, software and other related technology will ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... The Pittcon Organizing Committee is pleased to announce that ... volunteer member of Committee since 1987. Since then, he has served in a number ... was chairman for both the program and exposition committees. In his professional career, Dr. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: