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Tuesday, October 07, 2003

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find related articles. powered by google. BBC Geneticists hunt control patterns

"The Human Epigenome Project will look for patterns in our "life code" that are associated with gene regulation but are also implicated in causing disease."

"Researchers at Epigenomics AG in Berlin and the Sanger Institute in Cambridge will take part in the five-year study."

find related articles. powered by google. Genomeweb Epigenomics, Sanger Institute Launch First Phase of Human Epigenome Project

"The announcement follows the completion of an HEP pilot project that studied methylation patterns within the Major Histocompatibility Complex in chromosome 6 to determine the methylation status of over 100,000 sites. Data from the pilot study, which was funded by the European Union, was released today on the HEP's website."

"The methylation data will be integrated with the human genome sequence using the Ensembl interface and publicly released at and at"

redux [10.06.03]
find related articles. powered by google. The New York Times A Pregnant Mother's Diet May Turn the Genes Around
[requires 'free' registration]

"With the help of some fat yellow mice, scientists have discovered exactly how a mother's diet can permanently alter the functioning of genes in her offspring without changing the genes themselves."

"The research is a milestone in the relatively new science of epigenetics, the study of how environmental factors like diet, stress and maternal nutrition can change gene function without altering the DNA sequence in any way."

redux [09.13.01]
find related articles. powered by google. The Scientist The Meaning of Epigenetics
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"The term was introduced by Conrad H. Waddington in 1942.1 To paraphrase an erudite epistolary exchange in Science, he is said to contrast genetics with epigenetics , the study of the processes by which genotype gives rise to phenotype. In 1942 we had barely any clue as to what those processes are, so "epigenetic" had no connotation of the underlying chemical mechanism, whatever it was that modulated cell differentiation.

In 1994, as cited in the same issue of Science, Robin Holliday voiced a commonly apprehended drift in meaning, and redefined epigenetic as "Nuclear inheritance which is not based on differences in DNA sequence." These two memes are freely circulating and can cause muddle or mischief mainly when they recombine, namely when epigenetic-H is automatically applied to epigenetic-W."

"This neology of nucleic, epinucleic, extranucleic, has attracted few followers, I think largely because so few people had really thought through the distinctions. There is much merit in Ben Johnson's caution about unbridled proliferation of terms: "A man coins not a new word without some peril, and less fruit; for if it happen to be received, the praise is but moderate; if refus'd, the scorn is assur'd." But is a polysemy to be preferred, with thought-muddling as a further peril?"

redux [08.16.01]
find related articles. powered by google. Science Behind the Scenes of Gene Expression
[ summary can be viewed for free once registered ]

"Some of the weirdest genetic phenomena have very little to do with the genes themselves. True, as the units of DNA that define the proteins needed for life, genes have played biology's center stage for decades. But whereas the genes always seem to get star billing, work over the past few years suggests that they are little more than puppets. An assortment of proteins and, sometimes, RNAs, pull the strings, telling the genes when and where to turn on or off."

""The unit of inheritance, i.e., a gene, [now] extends beyond the sequence to epigenetic modifications of that sequence," explains Emma Whitelaw, a biochemist at the University of Sydney, Australia."

""[Epigenetic effects] give you a mechanism by which the environment can very stably change things," says Rudolph Jaenisch, a developmental biologist at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Researchers are hoping to harness these effects to design drugs that correct cancer and other diseases brought on by gene misregulation."

redux [07.11.00]
find related articles. powered by google. Wired News Following Cancer's Red Flags

"Genes are tricksters. They can be turned on or off -- and whether they're on or off decides whether the gene-owner will develop disease.

Gene researchers have embarked on a new field of research, called epigenomics, to determine whether genes are in the on or off position. This type of marker could prove an important diagnostic or therapeutic tool for all types of cancer.

"At Johns Hopkins, researchers are performing clinical trials on about 15 patients with leukemia and other cancers to find out if epigenomics might give pharmaceutical companies a lead for developing cancer drugs.

The research, like all epigenomics research, is studying a chemical found in everyone's DNA called cytosine. Cytosine is the only chemical of the four that make up human DNA (the others are adenine, thymine, and guanine) that is prone to a phenomenon called methylation. When cytosine is methylated, it tuns off its gene."

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Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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