Epigenetic

De novo DNA methylation?

Epigenomics and the control of fate, form and function in social insects Excerpt: “De novo DNA methylation is critical for developmental divergence of female larvae towards the honeybee worker caste and is progressive [49,51].” de novo is a Latin expression meaning “from the beginning DNA methylation does not automagically occur. From the beginning, it has been nutrient-dependent and RNA-directed. Nutrient-dependent RNA-directed DNA methylation links the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from…

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ALPHA GENOMIX

ALPHA GENOMIX LABORATORIES INC Alpha genomics (for those unfamiliar with their spelling) Re: On this team, Dr. Hani El Shawa, is also first author of Prenatal Ethanol Exposure Disrupts Intraneocortical Circuitry, Cortical Gene Expression, and Behavior in a Mouse Model of FASD. The Journal of Neuroscience, 27 November 2013, 33(48): 18893-18905. Excerpt: “Changes in gene expression reported in this study may be caused by altered DNA methylation, an epigenetic modification that cells use to mediate gene expression (Moore et al.,…

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Nutrient-dependent gene duplication in plants (but not animals?)

Divergence of Gene Body DNA Methylation and Evolution of Plant Duplicate Genes Excerpt 1) “A recent study demonstrated that the DNA methylation in promoter may play a significant role for functional divergence of duplicated genes in human [48].” Excerpt 1 from the cited work [48]: “For 73% of gene pairs, one copy is always hypomethylated compared with the other. This refutes the idea that [RNA-directed] DNA methylation of genes is strictly determined in a tissue-by-tissue manner and indicates the presence…

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No understanding of biodiversity

No single explanation for biodiversity in Madagascar Excerpt: “The study is part of a larger body of research aimed at identifying the climate, geology and other features of the environment that help bring new species of plants and animals into being in an area, and then sustain once they’re there.” My comment: Like many studies, this one posits that new species automagically arise and are somehow sustained in ecological niches. Excerpt: “What governs the distribution of, say, a particular group of…

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Understanding physical forces of ecological variation and adaptation

Discovery of new subatomic particle, type of meson, to ‘transform’ understanding of fundamental force of nature   Excerpt: “Because the Ds3*(2860)ˉ particle contains a heavy charm quark it is easier for theorists to calculate its properties. And because it has spin 3, there can be no ambiguity about what the particle is,” adds Professor Gershon. “Therefore it provides a benchmark for future theoretical calculations. Improvements in these calculations will transform our understanding of how nuclei are bound together.” My comment:…

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Eliminating evolutionary theory

Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Excerpt 1) “…the theory neglects key processes, say Kevin Laland and colleagues.” My comment: “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans (Keller et al., 2007; Kohl, 2007; Villarreal, 2009; Vosshall, Wong, & Axel, 2000).” — Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. (2012) Excerpt 2) “Theory accommodates evidence through relentless synthesis…” My comment: “An…

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2014 and 2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine

2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine is Awarded for Discovery of Brain’s ‘Inner GPS’ Excerpt: “… gray lines show the path followed by a rat as it moves around a box looking for pieces of food.” 2014 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for finding brain’s ‘you are here’ cells Excerpt: John Stein, professor of physiology at Oxford University, said: “This is great news and well deserved. I remember how great was the scoffing in the early 1970s when John first…

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RNA-mediated genetic engineering (Part 3)

RCas9: A programmable RNA editing tool Excerpt: “The researchers envision a wide range of potential applications for RCas9. For example, an RCas9 tethered to a protein translation initiation factor and targeted to a specific mRNA could essentially act as a designer translation factor to “up-” or “down-” regulate protein synthesis from that mRNA.” My comment: This “up-” or “down-” regulation of protein synthesis from mRNA occurs naturally in the context of RNA-mediated genetic engineering. Nutrient uptake alters the microRNA/messenger RNA…

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Forces of "Nature" limit dissemination of information

Force of nature gave life its asymmetry Excerpt: “In 2011, Meierhenrich and colleages showed4 that such light could transfer its handedness to amino acids. But even demonstrating how a common physical phenomenon would have favoured left-handed amino acids over right-handed ones would not tell us that this was how life evolved, adds Laurence Barron, a chemist at the University of Glasgow, UK. “There are no clinchers. We may never know.” My comment:I think the clincher is the creation of the…

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Systems biology and memory disorders

Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program Reported as: Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed: Small trial succeeds using systems approach to memory disorders News Article Excerpt: (1) eliminating all simple carbohydrates, leading to a weight loss of 20 pounds; (2) eliminating gluten and processed food from her diet, with increased vegetables, fruits, and non-farmed fish; (3) to reduce stress, she began yoga; (4) as a second measure to reduce the stress of her job, she began to meditate…

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