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.

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 October 1, 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 October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
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