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

Faith-tainted epigenetics

This 2018 Loma Linda review subject was epigenetic interventions for aging: “Epigenomic markers of aging, global DNA hypomethylation and promoter-specific hypermethylation may be engendered by iron and HCys [homocysteine] retention. MiR-29/p53 axis may reverse age-related methylomic shifts, stabilizing both the genome and the epigenome, therefore removing a major risk factor of neurodegeneration. Lowering iron and … Continue reading Faith-tainted epigenetics

An example of researchers changing their field’s paradigms

This 2018 German review subject was retroviruses: “Initial indications that retroviruses are connected to neoplastic transformation were seen more than a century ago. 43% of the human genome is made up of such elements and 8% of the genome is comprised of retroviruses that infected human ancestors, entering cells of the germ line or proliferating … Continue reading An example of researchers changing their field’s paradigms

Viruses target epigenetic processes

This 2018 Colorado review subject was general and specific ways viruses target epigenetic processes: “We describe viral mechanisms and virus-host interactions by which DNA tumor viruses regulate host DNA methylation to evade antiviral immunity. It is well known that most endogenous retroviruses and retrotransposons in the human genome are inactivated by DNA hypermethylation. In addition … Continue reading Viruses target epigenetic processes

Epigenetics research and evolution

This 2017 UK essay was a longish review of how epigenetics and other research has informed evolutionary theory: “There are several processes by which directed evolutionary change occurs – targeted mutation, gene transposition, epigenetics, cultural change, niche construction and adaptation. Evolution is an ongoing set of iterative interactions between organisms and the environment. Directionality is … Continue reading Epigenetics research and evolution

Epigenetic similarities between placental and cancer cells

This 2017 New Zealand review compared and contrasted epigenetic evidence from placental and cancer research: “Placental and cancer cells are globally hypomethylated and share an epigenetic phenomenon that is not well understood – they fail to silence repetitive DNA sequences (retrotransposons) that are silenced (methylated) in healthy somatic cells. In the placenta, hypomethylation of retrotransposons … Continue reading Epigenetic similarities between placental and cancer cells

Mechanisms of stress memories in plants

This 2016 Australian review’s subject was plant memory mechanisms: “Plants are adept at rapidly acclimating to stressful conditions and are able to further fortify their defenses by retaining memories of stress to enable stronger or more rapid responses should an environmental perturbation recur. The recovery process entails a balancing act between resetting and memory formation. … Continue reading Mechanisms of stress memories in plants

The purpose of many epigenetic processes is to control virus-like material

This 2016 Swiss human review’s subject was: “Transposable elements (TEs) may account for up to two-thirds of the human genome, and as genomic threats they are subjected to epigenetic control mechanisms engaged from the earliest stages of embryonic development. TEs are present in all organisms from bacteria to humans, and they constitute essential motors of … Continue reading The purpose of many epigenetic processes is to control virus-like material

A molecular study of the epigenetic regulation of memory

This 2015 Norwegian rodent study provided: “New insights into the molecular underpinnings of synaptic plasticity. We report the first global transcriptome [all RNA found in specific cells] analysis of in vivo synaptic plasticity, using the well-established model of LTP [long-term potentiation, an increase in synaptic strength that underlies memory] in the rat dentate gyrus [a … Continue reading A molecular study of the epigenetic regulation of memory

Stress in early life can alter physiology and behavior across the entire lifespan

I’ll quote a few sections of this 2014 summary of 111 studies concerning stress, including the authors’ research: “The brain is the central organ of stress and adaptation to stressors because: It not only perceives what is threatening or potentially threatening and initiates behavioral and physiological responses to those challenges, But also is a target … Continue reading Stress in early life can alter physiology and behavior across the entire lifespan