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 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,800+ 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

Paving the way to Better Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
Aïcha BenTaieb will present her invention for automated identification of ovarian cancer’s many subtypes at an international conference this fall.
Friday, July 31, 2015
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
Health Risks of Saturated Fats Aggravated by Immune Response
Research shows that the presence of saturated fats resulted in monocytes migrating into the tissues of vital organs.
Changing the Biological Data Visualisation World
Scientists at TGAC, alongside European partners, have created a cutting-edge, open source community for the life sciences.
NIH Study Finds Calorie Restriction Lowers Some Risk Factors for Age-Related Diseases
Two-year trial did not produce expected metabolic changes, but influenced other life span markers.
Immunotherapy Agent Benefits Patients with Drug-Resistant Multiple Myeloma in First Human Trial
Daratumumab proved generally safe in patients, even at the highest doses.
Low-level Arsenic Exposure Before Birth Associated with Early Puberty in Female Mice
Study examine whether low-dose arsenic exposure could have similar health outcomes in humans.
Inciting an Immune Attack On Cancer Cells
A new minimally invasive vaccine that combines cancer cells and immune-enhancing factors could be used clinically to launch a destructive attack on tumors.
‘Mutation-Tracking’ Blood Test for Breast Cancer
Scientists have developed a blood test for breast cancer able to identify which patients will suffer a relapse after treatment, months before tumours are visible on hospital scans.
Cellular Contamination Pathway for Heavy Elements Identified
Berkeley Lab scientists find that an iron-binding protein can transport actinides into cells.
Intensity of Desert Storms May Affect Ocean Phytoplankton
MIT study finds phytoplankton are extremely sensitive to changing levels of desert dust.
Common ‘Heart Attack’ Blood Test May Predict Future Hypertension
Small rises in troponin levels may have value as markers for subclinical heart damage and high blood pressure.
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
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!