There's more to genes than DNA: How Mum and Dad add something extra

Biologists at the Universities of Bath and Vienna have discovered 71 new 'imprinted' genes in the mouse genome, a finding that takes them a step closer to unraveling some of the mysteries of epigenetics—an area of science ...

Regulation of the genome affects its 3D structure

All the cells of an organism share the same DNA sequence, but their functions, shapes or even lifespans vary greatly. This happens because each cell "reads" different chapters of the genome, thus producing alternative sets ...

DNA methylation regulator QSER1 identified

A team of researchers from a number of institutions in the U.S. has identified a DNA methylation regulator called QSER1. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes studying the valleys of unmethylated ...

Lockdown for genome parasites

Researchers at GMI—Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences—have uncovered an ingenious mechanism by which Arabidopsis safeguards the integrity of its genome. The paper is ...

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DNA methylation

DNA methylation is a type of chemical modification of DNA that can be inherited and subsequently removed without changing the original DNA sequence. As such, it is part of the epigenetic code and is also the best characterized epigenetic mechanism. Because methylation is a common capability of all viruses for self non-self identification, the epigenetic code could be a persistent remnant of ancient viral infection events.

DNA methylation involves the addition of a methyl group to DNA — for example, to the number 5 carbon of the cytosine pyrimidine ring — in this case with the specific effect of reducing gene expression. DNA methylation at the 5 position of cytosine has been found in every vertebrate examined. In adult somatic tissues, DNA methylation typically occurs in a CpG dinucleotide context; non-CpG methylation is prevalent in embryonic stem cells.

In plants, cytosines are methylated both symmetrically (CpG or CpNpG) and asymmetrically (CpNpNp), where N can be any nucleotide but guanine.

Research has suggested that long term memory storage in humans may be regulated by DNA methylation.

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