Epigenetic insights: How hybrid poplar regenerates shoots

Understanding plant regeneration at the molecular level is pivotal for advancements in genetic transformation and genome editing. Previous studies have underscored the importance of DNA methylation in model organisms, yet ...

GoT-ChA: New tool reveals how gene mutations affect cells

A team co-led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and the New York Genome Center has developed an advanced method for revealing how gene mutations disrupt the normal packaging of DNA. These structural changes, which ...

A new tool for plant long non-coding RNA identification

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are ubiquitous transcripts with crucial regulatory roles in various biological processes, including chromatin remodeling, post-transcriptional regulation, and epigenetic modifications. While ...

New tool helps decipher gene behavior

Scientists have extensively researched the structure and sequence of genetic material and its interactions with proteins in the hope of understanding how our genetics and environment interact with diseases. This research ...

The palm tree that lives beneath the rainforest floor

In the heart of western Borneo's vibrant jungles, the edible fruits of the underground palm are well-known to the local people who snack on them. But this botanical marvel has remained unnoticed by the scientific community ...

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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.

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