Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
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

SFU scientists aim to wow non-scientists at AAAS
A trio of Simon Fraser University scientists will strut their science knowledge during Family Science Days at the world’s largest science fair at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Monday, January 30, 2012
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
Sorting Through Cellular Statistics
Aaron Dinner, professor in chemistry, and his graduate student Herman Gudjonson are trying to read the manual of life, DNA, as part of the Dinner group’s research into bioinformatics—the application of statistics to biological research.
Playing 'Tag' with Pollution lets Scientists See Who's It
Using a climate model that can tag sources of soot from different global regions and can track where it lands on the Tibetan Plateau, researchers have determined which areas around the plateau contribute the most soot — and where.
Women’s Immune System Genes Operate Differently from Men’s
A new technology reveals that immune system genes switch on and off differently in women and men, and the source of that variation is not primarily in the DNA.
Long Telomeres Associated with Increased Lung Cancer Risk
Genetic predisposition for long telomeres predicts increased lung adenocarcinoma risk.
First Artificial Ribosome Designed
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell.
High-Resolution 3D Images Reveal the Muscle Mitochondrial Power Grid
NIH mouse study overturns scientific ideas on energy distribution in muscle.
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.
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
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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!