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:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision ... Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete ... MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions ... of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 28, 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... compared with the first quarter of 2015 The gross ... M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to grow ... 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being implemented ... healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for controlling ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new ... prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware ... . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together ... built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today ... trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The ... ascending dose studies designed to assess the safety, ... injection in healthy adult volunteers. Forty ... a single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the ... the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to finish ... 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the following equities: Infinity ... NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... ). Learn more about these stocks by accessing their free ...
Breaking Biology Technology: