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Frontiers | Handedness genetics: considering the phenotype | Movement Science and Sport Psychology

The question which genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors contribute to human handedness certainly is one of the central questions in research on manual asymmetries. A number of environmenta...
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6 Terrifying New Creatures Science Just Discovered

6 Terrifying New Creatures Science Just Discovered | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
While we at Cracked like to regularly terrify our readers with tales of all the frightening creatures we share the planet with, we should always keep one thing in mind: Nature is always finding ways to top itself.
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Epigenetics 101: a beginner’s guide to explaining everything

Epigenetics 101: a beginner’s guide to explaining everything | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Cath Ennis: The word ‘epigenetics’ is everywhere these days, from academic journals and popular science articles to ads touting miracle cures. But what is epigenetics, and why is it so important?

Epigenetics is one of the hottest fields in the life sciences. It’s a phenomenon with wide-ranging, powerful effects on many aspects of biology, and enormous potential in human medicine. As such, its ability to fill in some of the gaps in our scientific knowledge is mentioned everywhere from academic journals to the mainstream media to some of the less scientifically rigorous corners of the Internet.

The basics

Epigenetics is essentially additional information layered on top of the sequence of letters (strings of molecules called A, C, G, and T) that makes up DNA.

If you consider a DNA sequence as the text of an instruction manual that explains how to make a human body, epigenetics is as if someone's taken a pack of highlighters and used different colours to mark up different parts of the text in different ways. For example, someone might use a pink highlighter to mark parts of the text that need to be read the most carefully, and a blue highlighter to mark parts that aren't as important.

There are different types of epigenetic marks, and each one tells the proteins in the cell to process those parts of the DNA in certain ways. For example, DNA can be tagged with tiny molecules called methyl groups that stick to some of its C letters. Other tags can be added to proteins called histones that are closely associated with DNA. There are proteins that specifically seek out and bind to these methylated areas, and shut it down so that the genes in that region are inactivated in that cell. So methylation is like a blue highlighter telling the cell "you don't need to know about this section right now."


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