Epigenetics Experts
First male fertility test based on methylation of sperm DNA released by Episona Inc.
October 25, 2016 • Brian Abraham
Episona Inc., which describes itself as an epigenetics data company, announced on October 17, 2016, the launch of Seed, the first ever male fertility test based on the detection of epigenetic marks on the DNA carrier in sperm cells. The company says this type of information goes beyond the traditional metrics for male fertility: count and motility. The test detects for abnormal methylation patterns on 480,000 regions of DNA known to…
Social behavior affected by epigenetic modification of a single gene
June 20, 2016 • Sarina Saturn
A study in the journal PNAS reports that epigenetic modification of one gene impacts human social behaviors. The OXT gene is responsible for production of the hormone oxytocin, which is known to play a role in human sociability.  Researchers collected genetic data from the saliva of 120 people and found that decreased methylation, and therefore greater activity, of the oxytocin gene was linked to feeling more secure about relationships, a greater ability to recognize emotional facial expressions,…
Epigenetic changes in developing fetuses linked to smoking during pregnancy
March 31, 2016 • Brian Abraham, Christopher Gregg, Michael Cowley, Peng Jin
Smoking while pregnant can cause epigenetic changes to the DNA of newborns, according to a large scale meta-analysis of thirteen previous studies. Analyzing data from 6,685 mothers and newborns, researchers found significant epigenetic differences between children whose mothers were sustained smokers and those that were non-smokers. The authors say their results could help explain the higher risks of health problems such as birth defects and cancer in children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.  …
Male body weight linked to epigenetic effects in sperm
December 03, 2015 • Christopher Gregg, Diana J. Laird, John M. Denu, Peng Jin, Sarah Kimmins
Differences between the epigenetic marks found in the sperm of lean and obese men have been observed in a small study. Epigenetic marks affect how genes function and can be passed on to children. The differences found by the researchers were in genes associated with appetite, leading them to suggest their findings provide a possible explanation for why obese fathers produce children who are predisposed to obesity. As well as…