New techniques could transform epigenetics research, ameliorating diseases

epigenetic regulation environmental diseases

Epigenetics, the study of mechanisms by which genes are turned on or off without altering their genetic code or DNA sequences, is one of many ways that cells regulate gene expression. Epigenetics has helped scientists better understand complex and diverse biological processes such as cell differentiation, genomic imprinting, and X-chromosome inactivation.

Two new methods of epigenetic assessment and intervention, APOBEC-coupled epigenetic sequencing (ACE-seq) and CRISPR, have the potential to dramatically enhance epigenetic research and its clinical applications.

Described in Nature Biotechnology [October 8], ACE-seq is a bisulfite-free method for localizing 5-hydroxymethylcytosine at single-base resolution with low DNA input and without harming DNA.

In 2017, scientists from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California reported a robust CRISPR-Cas9–based system for activating target genes in vivo by modulating histone modifications rather than by editing DNA sequences. They found that their system was successful in ameliorating disease symptoms in mouse models of diabetes and muscular dystrophy. Prior to this paper, most approaches to alter epigenetic processes relied on drugs that ubiquitously add or remove histone modifications, potentially affecting off-target genes and producing serious side effects.

Related article:  Viewpoint: 'GMOs change your DNA' and 7 other anti-biotech myths debunked

Incorporating these new epigenetic technologies when examining the multiple biological factors that regulate gene expression will better illuminate whether or how environmental factors and lifestyles can modify what we classically believed was our DNA destiny.

Read full, original post: Opinion: The New Frontiers of Epigenetics

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend