Going off the rails with the biomarker paradigm

This 2018 US government rodent study used extreme dosages to achieve its directed goals of demonizing nicotine and extolling the biomarker paradigm: “This study examined whether adolescent nicotine exposure alters adult hippocampus-dependent learning, involving persistent changes in hippocampal DNA methylation and if choline, a dietary methyl donor, would reverse and mitigate these alterations. Mice were … Continue reading Going off the rails with the biomarker paradigm

Epigenetic effects of breast cancer treatments

This 2018 UC San Diego review subject was the interplay between breast cancer treatments and their effects on aging: “Although current breast cancer treatments are largely successful in producing cancer remission and extending lifespan, there is concern that these treatments may have long lasting detrimental effects on cancer survivors, in part, through their impact on … Continue reading Epigenetic effects of breast cancer treatments

Epigenetic variations in metabolism

This 2018 German review was comprehensive for its subject, epigenetic control of variation and stochasticity in metabolic disease. I’ll focus on one aspect, phenotypic variation: “Phenotypic [Mendelian] variation can result both from gain- and loss-of-function mutations. Because of the extreme interconnectivity of cell regulatory networks, even at the cellular level, predicting the impact of a … Continue reading Epigenetic variations in metabolism

A study of our evolutionary remnants

This 2018 Michigan human cell study subject was factors affecting the expression of human endogenous retroviruses: “We provide a comprehensive genomic and epigenomic map of the more than 500,000 endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) and fragments that populate the intergenic regions of the human genome. The repressive epigenetic marks associated with the ERVs, particularly long terminal repeats … Continue reading A study of our evolutionary remnants

Starving awakens ancient parasite DNA within us

This 2018 Italian human cell study conducted a series of experiments on the effects of nutrient deprivation: “Reduced food intake, and in particular protein or amino acid (AA) restriction, extends lifespan and healthspan. We have previously shown that, in mammalian cells, deprivation of essential AAs (methionine/cysteine or tyrosine) leads to the transcriptional reactivation of integrated … Continue reading Starving awakens ancient parasite DNA within us

Immune memory of pregnancies

This 2018 Israeli human study subject was natural killer cell epigenetic memory of pregnancies: “Natural killer (NK) cells were first discovered for their ability to kill tumor cells, and later found to also kill pathogen-infected cells. Different tissue-resident subpopulations of human NK cells exist throughout the body, displaying unique phenotypic and functional properties. One of … Continue reading Immune memory of pregnancies

Are there epigenetic causes for sexual orientation and gender identity?

This US 2018 review lead author was a gynecologic oncologist in private practice: “Sexual orientation is biologically conferred in the first trimester of pregnancy. Gender identity is biologically conferred during the middle trimester of pregnancy. Since the genitals differentiate in the first trimester, and the brain becomes imprinted in the latter half of gestation, it … Continue reading Are there epigenetic causes for sexual orientation and gender identity?

The Not-Invented-Here syndrome

I have high expectations of natural science researchers. I assume that their studies will improve over time, and develop methods and experiments that produce reliable evidence to inform us of human conditions. My confidence is often unrealistic. Scientists are people, after all, and have the same foibles as the rest of us. I anticipate that … Continue reading The Not-Invented-Here syndrome

The purpose of epigenetic mechanisms

The concluding remarks of this 2018 Chinese review were: “Using heterochromatin as a model, we have reviewed here the mechanisms behind the establishment and maintenance of silent chromatin domains. We conclude that almost every component of the chromatin environment, including DNA elements, RNAs, histones and other chromatin proteins, plays a role in the process of … Continue reading The purpose of epigenetic mechanisms

RNA and neurodegenerative diseases

This 2018 Chinese paper reviewed the associations among long non-coding RNA and four neurodegenerative diseases: “lncRNAs are widely implicated in various physiological and pathological processes, such as epigenetic regulation, cell cycle regulation, cell differentiation regulation, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases, through their interactions with chromatin, protein, and other RNAs. Numerous studies have suggested that lncRNAs are … Continue reading RNA and neurodegenerative diseases