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  • Science Ticker

    Plants might remember with prions

    There’s no known mad plant disease. But prions — which show their dark side in mad cow disease — may occur in plants as a form of memory.

    Prions are proteins that change shape and shift tasks, and then trigger other proteins to make the same change. Inheriting prions lets cells “remember” and replicate that shift in form and function. Now a protein called luminidependens, which is...

    04/25/2016 - 15:00 Plants, Epigenetics, Cells
  • Science Ticker

    Dads pass health effects of stress on to sons, mouse study finds

    A father’s stress may directly affect his son’s health.

    In mice, males exposed to repeated psychological stress developed high blood sugar — and so did their unstressed male offspring, researchers report online February 18 in Cell Metabolism.  Stress appeared to alter chemical tags on the DNA in a male’s sperm. These epigenetic tweaks were then passed onto male pups, which produced...

    02/19/2016 - 07:00 Epigenetics, Health
  • Science Ticker

    Ants’ size and profession controlled by chemical tags on DNA

    Chemical modifications to DNA determine what carpenter ants do for a living.

    Florida carpenter ant (Camponotus floridanus) workers have two main career paths. Around one-third of workers are big, brawny soldiers called majors. Most other workers are smaller food-seekers called minors. Majors and minors are closely related, but majors forage far less. This behavioral difference is the...

    12/31/2015 - 14:00 Animals, Epigenetics
  • Feature

    Year in review: Epigenome makes its debut

    In a landmark event more than a decade ago, geneticists unveiled the human genetic instruction book. This year, the book was turned into a movie adaptation in 3-D: Researchers cataloged how chemical modifications fold, compress and unwind the static DNA over time and how those modifications control when genes are on or off. 

    The crew of researchers involved in the Roadmap...

    12/15/2015 - 06:56 Epigenetics, Genetics, Cells
  • News

    Chemical tags on DNA appear to differ between gay and straight men

    BALTIMORE — Molecular tests may be able to distinguish homosexual from heterosexual men, a small study of twins suggests.

    Chemical modifications to DNA that change the activity of genes without changing the genes’ information differ between homosexual and heterosexual men, researchers from UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine have discovered. Results of the unpublished study on the link...

    10/08/2015 - 17:27 Genetics, Epigenetics