Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Tying our Fate to Molecular Markings

Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Understanding how a chemical mark on our DNA affects gene expression could be as useful to scientists as fingerprints are to police at a crime scene.

In a new study, Emberly and his colleagues at Simon Fraser University cite proof that variable methylation, a chemical mark on our DNA, is predictive of age, gender, stress, cancer and early-life socioeconomic status within a population. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has just published the study online.

Working with researchers at the University of British Columbia and Stanford University, Eldon Emberly studied the variation of methylation over a large group of individuals.

DNA that is methylated in our genomes is known to affect whether genes are turned on or off. Gene expression predicates several attributes linked to our identity, such as gender, ethnicity, age and health.

The trio measured methylation from DNA in the white blood cells of 92 people aged 24 to 45. Emberly’s lab helped to mine the resulting data sets for correlations between variation in the chemical mark and variable social, psychological and physical traits in the subjects.

The results demonstrated that those who had experienced childhood poverty had a different methylation level from those who hadn’t. This was despite the fact everyone in the cohort had achieved the same socioeconomic status later in life.

That meant that early-life environment had left a detectable molecular mark on an individual’s DNA.

The correlation between methylation and gene expression was complex because it wasn’t always predictable but there was one connection of particular note says Emberly, an SFU associate professor.

“Variable methylation correlated with variable expression of the gene DDX4, which is linked to certain cancers.”

Emberly says this study’s discoveries raise interesting questions, as the connection between methylation and some traits, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, was weaker than expected or non existent.

“We’re now investigating whether methylation variation in different types of tissue is more predictive of some trait,” adds Emberly.

Pau Farre, a master’s of science student in physics under Emberly’s supervision, is doing a statistical analysis of the variability in methylation across tissues.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Scientists Help Tackle Forest Pests with Genomics
Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business professor Jeremy Hall is leading the social science research component in a new project dedicated to significantly reducing forest pests in Canada, and ultimately globally.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Scientific News
Long Telomeres Associated with Increased Lung Cancer Risk
Genetic predisposition for long telomeres predicts increased lung adenocarcinoma risk.
Expanding the Brain
A team of researchers has identified more than 40 new “imprinted” genes, in which either the maternal or paternal copy of a gene is expressed while the other is silenced.
Identifying a Key Growth Factor in Cell Proliferation
Researchers discover that aspartate is a limiter of cell proliferation.
Study Uncovers Target for Preventing Huntington’s Disease
Scientists from Cardiff University believe that a treatment to prevent or delay the symptoms of Huntington’s disease could now be much closer, following a major breakthrough.
The Genetic Roots of Adolescent Scoliosis
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in collaboration with Keio University in Japan have discovered a gene that is linked to susceptibility of Scoliosis.
A Gene-Sequence Swap Using CRISPR to Cure Haemophilia
For the first time chromosomal defects responsible for hemophilia have been corrected in patient-specific iPSCs using CRISPR-Cas9 nucleases
New Tool Uses 'Drug Spillover' to Match Cancer Patients with Treatments
Researchers have developed a new tool that improves the ability to match drugs to disease: the Kinase Addiction Ranker (KAR) predicts what genetics are truly driving the cancer in any population of cells and chooses the best "kinase inhibitor" to silence these dangerous genetic causes of disease.
Understanding the Molecular Origin of Epigenetic Markers
Researchers at IRB Barcelona discover the molecular mechanism that determines how epigenetic markers influence gene expression.
New Tech Enables Epigenomic Analysis with a Mere 100 Cells
A new technology that will dramatically enhance investigations of epigenomes, the machinery that turns on and off genes and a very prominent field of study in diseases such as stem cell differentiation, inflammation and cancer has been developed by researchers at Virginia Tech.
Access Denied: Leukemia Thwarted by Cutting Off Link to Environmental Support
A new study reveals a protein’s critical – and previously unknown -- role in the development and progression of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a fast-growing and extremely difficult-to-treat blood cancer.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!