Non-CpG DNA methylation

This 2017 Korean review compared and contrasted CpG and non-CpG DNA methylation: “Non-CpG methylation is restricted to specific cell types, such as pluripotent stem cells, oocytes, neurons, and glial cells..accumulation of methylation at non-CpG sites and CpG sites in neurons seems to be involved in development and disease etiology. Non-CpG methylation is established during postnatal … Continue reading Non-CpG DNA methylation

Little evidence for mitochondrial DNA methylation

This 2018 Japanese rodent study used three different techniques to detect mitochondrial DNA methylation: “Whilst 5-methylcytosine (5mC) is a major epigenetic mark in the nuclear DNA in mammals, whether or not mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) receives 5mC modification remains controversial. We used bisulfite sequencing, McrBC digestion analyses and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, which are distinctly differing … Continue reading Little evidence for mitochondrial DNA methylation

The epigenetic clock theory of aging

My 400th blog post curates a 2018 US/UK paper by two of the coauthors of Using an epigenetic clock to distinguish cellular aging from senescence. The authors reviewed the current state of epigenetic clock research, and proposed a new theory of aging: “The proposed epigenetic clock theory of ageing views biological ageing as an unintended … Continue reading The epigenetic clock theory of aging

Dealing with big data in epigenetic studies

There’s been a long-standing need for tools and mathematical techniques which effectively deal with the large amount of data present in epigenetic studies. Complete experimental conditions and results aren’t accurately described when researchers fail to transform large sets of data into information. This 2018 Baltimore review/promotional paper described an approach that promised to resolve the … Continue reading Dealing with big data in epigenetic studies

Obtaining convictions with epigenetic statistics?

This 2018 Austrian review subject was forensic applications of epigenetic clock methodologies: “The methylation-sensitive analysis of carefully selected DNA markers (CpG sites) has brought the most promising results by providing prediction accuracies of ±3–4 years, which can be comparable to, or even surpass those from, eyewitness reports. This mini-review puts recent developments in age estimation … Continue reading Obtaining convictions with epigenetic statistics?

Using an epigenetic clock to assess liver disease

This 2018 UC San Diego human study investigated the capability of the epigenetic clock methodology to detect biological aging with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) patients: “The ability to measure a surrogate marker of liver aging from a peripheral blood sample has broad implications for assessing clinically “silent” chronic diseases, such as NASH, and, potentially, their response … Continue reading Using an epigenetic clock to assess liver disease

An emotional center of our brains

This 2018 McGill/UC San Diego rodent study was on the dentate gyrus area of the hippocampus: “Early life experience influences stress reactivity and mental health through effects on cognitive-emotional functions that are, in part, linked to gene expression in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus. The hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) is a major site for experience-dependent … Continue reading An emotional center of our brains

DNA methylation and childhood adversity

This 2017 Georgia human review covered: “Recent studies, primarily focused on the findings from human studies, to indicate the role of DNA methylation in the associations between childhood adversity and cardiometabolic disease in adulthood. In particular, we focused on DNA methylation modifications in genes regulating the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis as well as the immune system.” Recommendations … Continue reading DNA methylation and childhood adversity

Can researchers make a difference in their fields?

The purpose and finding of this 2017 UK meta-analysis of human epigenetics and cognitive abilities was: “A meta-analysis of the relationship between blood-based DNA methylation and cognitive function. We identified [two] methylation sites that are linked to an aspect of executive function and global cognitive ability. The latter finding relied on a relatively crude cognitive … Continue reading Can researchers make a difference in their fields?

Epigenetic study methodologies improved in 2017

Let’s start out 2018 paying more attention to advancements in science that provide sound empirical data and methodology. Let’s ignore and de-emphasize studies and reviews that aren’t much more than beliefs couched in models and memes, whatever their presumed authority. Let sponsors direct researchers to focus on ultimate causes of diseases. Let’s put research of … Continue reading Epigenetic study methodologies improved in 2017