Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inheritance Outside DNA: Screening For Colon Cancer By Analyzing Our Non-DNA Epigenetic Inheritance

Date:
December 12, 2006
Source:
American Society for Cell Biology
Summary:
At the 2006 American Society for Cell Biology conference, scientists will report an increase in tumor frequency in mice with mutations in a cancer-associated gene, called Apc. This finding may contribute to scientific understanding about the epigenetic changes involved in colon cancer.

Most people have heard that human inheritance is spelled out in our DNA and activated through our genes. Yet few know anything about epigenetics, a variety of methods that our cells have evolved to transmit heritable changes without changing DNA.

Related Articles


Among other things, epigenetics is crucial to differentiation, the process which makes one cell from another, and thus is at the heart of the mystery of stem cells.

Genomic imprinting is a type of epigenetic change that causes one copy of a particular gene to be turned off, depending on its parental origin. It works largely by altering the methylation patterns"the addition or subtraction of methyl groups"around a gene, but not the DNA sequence itself. These methylation patterns are reprogrammed when passed from generation to generation, carrying instructions related to the parent from whom that copy was inherited but without altering the DNA.

Abnormal methylation patterns in cancerous cells were discovered more than 20 years ago. Yet tumor cells have so many things wrong with them, including methylation abnormalities, that a precise cause-and-effect relationship between cancer and epigenetic alterations has been difficult to pin down, says Andrew Feinberg of the John Hopkins School of Medicine, who has been a pioneer in unraveling the epigenetics of cancer.

Now Feinberg has taken a new look at genomic imprinting, as a cancer-predisposing factor. Feinberg analyzed a common epigenetic alteration--found in 5--10 percent of the general population--that involves the loss of imprinting on an insulin-like growth factor gene called IGF2. Loss of imprinting of IGF2 has been associated statistically with individuals who have personal and familial histories of colorectal cancer. Turning to mice that modeled the loss of IGF2 imprinting, Feinberg found an increase in frequency of tumors in mice who also had mutations in a cancer-associated gene called Apc. In the mutant Apc mice, the loss of IGF2 imprinting seems to particularly affect the behavior of the adult stem cells that continually regenerate the colon in mice. This probably plays a role in the increased risk of colon cancer, says Feinberg.

Spotting epigenetic markers like lost IGF2 in humans could be used in future cancer-prevention strategies. Says Feinberg, "It could be possible to screen for colon cancer risk by looking at the epigenetic changes in colon cells of healthy people."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Cell Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society for Cell Biology. "Inheritance Outside DNA: Screening For Colon Cancer By Analyzing Our Non-DNA Epigenetic Inheritance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211092738.htm>.
American Society for Cell Biology. (2006, December 12). Inheritance Outside DNA: Screening For Colon Cancer By Analyzing Our Non-DNA Epigenetic Inheritance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211092738.htm
American Society for Cell Biology. "Inheritance Outside DNA: Screening For Colon Cancer By Analyzing Our Non-DNA Epigenetic Inheritance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211092738.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins