The Atlantic: Identical twins hint at how environments change gene expression

This is an amazing article that provides and in-depth discussion on the difference between genetics and epigenetics.  By looking at twins who share an identical genetic code, we witness how our our genes don’t explain everything about who we become.  Dr. Steve Horvath is an identical twin.

How knowing your genetic code could lengthen your life

Sequencing the human genome took 10 years and cost about $3bn. Now advances in computing power have seen the cost of human genome sequencing fall to under $500. What scientists are beginning to discover will revolutionize healthcare as we know it.

Insurtech Ladder raises another $10m for expansion

 Ladder Life continues to make headway in developing an evolved means to deliver life insurance.

What Allianz seeks in insurtech investment targets

Allianz continues to invest in insurtech, leading the round of investment in Ladder Life. Allianz Life Insurance set up its venture arm two years ago, as more new startups using breakthrough technology promised to one day transform its industry.

The dark side of our genes — healthy aging in modern times

Scientists collate the evidence for the mismatch between past evolutionary adaptation and our modern lives. They also ask whether natural selection linked to modernization might reduce globally the burden of some chronic diseases.

Josh Mitteldorf: 3 Stories of Sex and Death in Evolution

Once again Josh write a fascinating, provocative piece on the science of biology, aging, and evolution.  I find Josh’s work to be really interesting.  In this piece, Josh posits: Why did our biology evolve to require sex in order to reproduce? DNA replication is certainly possible without the physical act of sex. And if our biology seeks to maximize our survival through reproduction with evolved mutations, forcing the underlying biology to reach a biological age of sexual maturity and then engage in the physical act of sexual reproduction seems counter intuitive – so why is it so?

Where You Live Matters to Your Health

An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that when it comes to premature death, genetics has only a 30 percent influence; the other 70 percent is attributed to non­genetic factors such as environment, access to health care and individual behaviors.

Epigenetic Analyses Could Lead to Novel Therapeutic Drug Targets for Many Diseases

This article talks about the potential for epigenetics to identify many disease states when scientists decoded the epigenetic landscape for rheumatoid arthritis, a common autoimmune disease.  And in the process of doing so, made the surprising discovery between the overlap of rheumatoid arthritis and Huntington’s disease, a fatal and incurable genetic brain disease

DNA Methylation and Cigarette Consumption

This study looks at DNA methylation sensitivity to cigarette consumption among adults. The study links cigarette consumption to DNA Methylation at a specific CPG location. 

Epigenetic clocks Slows with Age

Epigenetic clocks based on DNA methylation yield high correlations with chronological age in cross-sectional data. The study found that epigenetic age increases at a slower rate than chronological age across the life course, especially in the oldest population. Some of the effect is likely driven by survival bias, where healthy individuals are those maintained within a longitudinal study, although other factors like the age distribution of the underlying training population may also have influenced this trend.

Epigenetics and BMI 

This study looked at epigenome-wide association study on obesity-related traits. The study reports novel associations of methylation with obesity-related traits.

Epigenetics and Inflammation 

Transmembrane tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptors are involved in inflammatory, apoptotic, and proliferative processes. In the bloodstream, soluble TNF receptor II (sTNFR2) can modify the inflammatory response of immune cells and is predictive of cardiovascular disease risk. We hypothesize that sTNFR2 is associated with epigenetic modifications of circulating leukocytes, which may relate to the pathophysiology underlying atherogenic risk.

DNA Methylation and Heart Disease

The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review of the association between DNA methylation and coronary heart disease (CHD) or related atherosclerotic traits.

DNA Methylation and Prostate Cancer

The current methodology involving diagnosis of prostate cancer (PCa) relies on the pathology examination of prostate needle biopsies, a method with high false negative rates partly due to temporospatial, molecular, and morphological heterogeneity of prostate adenocarcinoma. It is postulated that molecular markers have a potential to assign diagnosis to a considerable portion of undetected prostate tumors. This study examines the genome-wide DNA methylation changes in PCa in search of genomic markers for the development of a diagnostic algorithm for PCa screening.

Game-Changing Study Finds Dozens of Genes Tied to Depression

Scientists have uncovered dozens of genes that increase the risk of depression — a major finding that underscores the complexity of the disease and reveals why antidepressant therapies work well for some people but are utterly ineffective for others.

A Mysterious New Form of DNA Was Just Discovered in Human Cells

Recent studies point to the possibility that a bizarre form of DNA could, in fact, exist in living humans. Now, a new study in the journal Nature Chemistry provides the first direct evidence that it does exist and that it may play an important role in regulating our genes.