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Living by the Clock: How DNA Methylation Affects Lifespan

Have you ever wondered why skin cells and liver cells that contain the exact same DNA are so different? The answer is in gene expression. Although skin and liver cells do have the same DNA, different parts of the DNA are expressed in each type of cell. This cell type-specific expression results from different genes being “read” or transcribed by …

The Biological Expedition of Memories

For several years, the origin of inexplicable fears such as arachnophobia or acrophobia has remained an enigma. How, why, and by what means such fears develop was a prevalently unanswered question, until a study involving mice opened a complex, intricate gateway into the world of epigenetics and provided some insight into this phenomenon. In fact, recent research and experimentation affirm …

Epigenetics: In Defense of Lamarck

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck has long been debunked. Or so the story goes. Lamarck formulated the theory that the environment shapes genes, and that these changes are passed on to your children; on other hand, Darwin argued that genes are not changed by the environment and formulated natural selection. Lamarckian evolution theories on environmentally acquired characteristics are often referenced and contrasted with …

Transdifferentiation-Exploring Biological Alchemy

How to turn lead into gold may still remain a mystery, but the discovery of what is equivalent to alchemy at a cellular level opens up a new range of possibilities. Contrary to previous belief that cellular differentiation is a permanent process, recent work has shown that differentiated cells under specific defined factors have the capacity to change into other …

Methylation: The Cause of Brain Tumor?

When one thinks of the word “cancer” breast cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer are among the various types that first come to mind. One type of cancer that is often neglected is Brain Tumor. According to the National Tumor Society, more than 500 people per day are diagnosed with primary or metastatic brain tumorand what’s worse is that the …

Epigenetics: What It Means and Why You Should Care

Fundamental shifts in the way we understand our world and ourselves are rare, and when they do happen it is often with uproar. When discovery of the DNA double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 showed us that all of nature was bound together by a common molecular mechanism, it was assumed that the information held by …