Environmental Epigenetics Affects Disease, Evolution
News Aug 05, 2015
Their assertion is a dramatic shift in how we might think of disease and evolution’s underlying biology and “changes how we think about where things come from,” said Michael Skinner, founding director of the Center for Reproductive Biology in WSU’s School of Biological Sciences.
“The ability of environmental factors to promote epigenetic inheritance that subsequently promotes genetic mutations is a significant advance in our understanding of how the environment impacts disease and evolution,” they write.
Skinner is a pioneer in the field of epigenetics, which looks at the effect of changes in how genetic information is passed between generations even if DNA remains unchanged.
Earlier work by Skinner has found epigenetic effects from a host of environmental toxicants, connecting plastics, pesticides, fungicide, dioxin and hydrocarbons to diseases and abnormalities as many as three generations later.
His recent study exposed gestating female rats to the fungicide vinclozolin. Sperm in the first generation of male offspring showed epimutations, or alterations in the methyl groups that stick to DNA and affect its activation.
Third generation, or great-grand offspring, had increased genetic mutations, which the researchers saw in increased DNA structure changes known as copy-number variations. Multiple generations of control animals had no such variations.
This, said Skinner, suggests that environment has a more important role in mutations, disease and evolution than previously appreciated, and appears to be one of the main drivers of intergenerational changes, not simply a passive component. In short, Skinner and his colleagues say, the environment and epigenetics can drive genetics.
“There’s not a type of genetic mutation known that’s not potentially influenced by environmental epigenetic effects,” Skinner said.
Revolutionary Imaging Technique Uses CRISPR to Map DNA MutationsNews
The new high-speed AFM method can map DNA to a resolution of tens of base pairs while creating images up to a million base pairs in size. And it does it using a fraction of the amount of specimen required for DNA sequencing.READ MORE
AIDS Vaccine Design: New Data Offers Important InsightNews
New data published in Immunity further illuminate how some human beings generate powerful, HIV-blocking antibodies. The results offer important insight into a potential AIDS vaccine design.READ MORE
Comments | 0 ADD COMMENT
3rd Annual NGS Data Analysis and Informatics Conference
Feb 08 - Feb 09, 2018
3rd Annual Genome Editing & Engineering Conference
Feb 08 - Feb 09, 2018