Old skin cells reprogrammed to regain youthful function

Research from the Babraham Institute has developed a method to "time jump" human skin cells by 30 years, turning back the aging clock for cells without losing their specialized function. Work by researchers in the Institute's ...

Stem cell secrets allow researchers to revamp reprogramming

Researchers from the Babraham Institute's Epigenetics research program have been able to learn more about naïve stem cell reprogramming following a genome wide functional screen. Their research, published today in Science ...

Mapping how cell types and tissues develop

Researchers have developed a technique that allows them to look simultaneously at a spatial level and at a genome-wide level at epigenetic mechanisms underlying tissue development, a breakthrough with multiple scientific ...

Identification of a unique 'switch' for blood vessel generation

By systematically analyzing epigenetic changes in angiogenesis-stimulated vascular endothelial cells, Professor Takashi Minami (Kumamoto University, Japan) and his team have found a unique epigenetic modification (bivalent ...

Researchers identify key regulator of blood stem cell development

A protein that masterminds the way DNA is wrapped within chromosomes has a major role in the healthy functioning of blood stem cells, which produce all blood cells in the body, according to a new study from researchers at ...

page 1 from 18

Epigenetics

In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence – hence the name epi- (Greek: επί- over, above, outer) -genetics. Examples of such changes might be DNA methylation or histone deacetylation, both of which serve to suppress gene expression without altering the sequence of the silenced genes. In 2011, it was demonstrated that the methylation of mRNA has a critical role in human energy homeostasis. This opened the field of RNA epigenetics.

These changes may remain through cell divisions for the remainder of the cell's life and may also last for multiple generations. However, there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism; instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently.

One example of epigenetic changes in eukaryotic biology is the process of cellular differentiation. During morphogenesis, totipotent stem cells become the various pluripotent cell lines of the embryo which in turn become fully differentiated cells. In other words, a single fertilized egg cell – the zygote – changes into the many cell types including neurons, muscle cells, epithelium, endothelium of blood vessels etc. as it continues to divide. It does so by activating some genes while inhibiting others.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA