When Aristotle compared epigenetics to a net (1), he could not have predicted how right he was. Recent research has revealed that mechanisms underlying epigenetic effects are numerous and interdependent as are the knots in a net. Each epigenetic mechanism has its players: enzymes, functional groups, substrates etc. The most important aspect of an epigenetic trait is its reversibility. Methylation of DNA was the first epigenetic modification to be discovered, and 5-cytosine methylation was the first to be linked with gene expression status. Currently, the most popular method for measuring CpG island methylation status is a bisulfite treatment of DNA followed by PCR or sequencing.
In this week’s webinar, Promega R&D scientist, Karen Reece focused on a workflow from DNA purification to analysis. She described the best methods for DNA isolation, quantification, bisulfite conversion, PCR and sequencing. Continue Reading »
Posted in Nucleic Acid Purification, Products | Tagged dna methylation, dna methylation analysis, epigenetics, genomics, methyledge | Leave a Comment »
DNA testing methods are being used to solve problems in an ever-increasing number of fields. From crime scene analysis to tissue typing, from mammoths to Neanderthals, and from Thutmose I to Richard III, both modern mysteries and age-old secrets are being revealed. The availability of fast, accurate, and convenient DNA amplification and sequencing methods has made DNA analysis a viable option for many types of investigation. Now it is even being applied to solve such mundane mysteries as the precise ingredients used in a sausage recipe, and to answer that most difficult of questions “what exactly is in a doner kebab?” Continue Reading »
Posted in General, In the scientific literature, News | Tagged dna analysis, dna sequencing, food testing | 4 Comments »
Image from CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia. Find more experiments in their Science By Email program, http://www.csiro.au
If you’re looking for activities to get the young people in your life to step away from the TV or computer, consider teaching them some science! Now, I understand that most young people probably will not jump at the opportunity to learn when they are “playing” online with their friends, but once they see how cool science can be, maybe they will change their minds.
A great resource is Scifun.org created by Chemistry Professor Bassem Shakhashiri at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. This website is packed with information, but one of my favorite parts is the first option in the “Explore” section: Experiments You Can Do At Home. Continue Reading »
Posted in Fun things, Science education | Tagged bassem shakhashiri, chemistry experiments, clint sprot, home experiments, Science education, science is fun | Leave a Comment »
Bunkers at Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge. photo credit: USFWS/Steve Agius
A lot has happened since I first wrote about White-Nose Syndrome, the fungal disease that has devastated bat populations in North America. The disease, caused by the cold-loving fungus Geomyces destructans, has been identified in many more places, including most recently confirmed cases in Georgia, South Carolina, Illinois and Missouri in the United States and Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Controlling the spread of this disease is a tremendous problem, because as I indicated in a previous blog post, keeping a hardy fungus from spreading among a population of densely packed small animals in tiny, cold damp areas is not a simple task.
This problem is going to require creative solutions, and scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may have come up with a great idea that answers two questions: How do you control the spread of White-Nose Syndrome and what do you do with 43 unused Air Force bunkers? Continue Reading »
Posted in Bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms, News | Tagged ecology, emerging pathogens, endangered species, geomyces destructans, infectious disease, little brown bat, national wildlife refuge, science, us fish and wildlife service, usfws, white nose syndrome | Leave a Comment »