Advertisement
Gene Tools
Gene Tools

Epigenetics in Australia -- and New York

After 27 years, Australia's Lorne Conference on the Organization and Expression of the Genome witnessed a first on Sunday: a session dedicated to the joys of linkurl:epigenetics;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/23011/ . The session kicked off with Carmen Sapienza from the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecule Biology, Temple University School of Medicine, who showed using a combination of database analysis and lab work that imprinted chromosomal regions are historical hot-sp

By | February 13, 2006

After 27 years, Australia's Lorne Conference on the Organization and Expression of the Genome witnessed a first on Sunday: a session dedicated to the joys of linkurl:epigenetics;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/23011/ . The session kicked off with Carmen Sapienza from the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecule Biology, Temple University School of Medicine, who showed using a combination of database analysis and lab work that imprinted chromosomal regions are historical hot-spots for recombination. Looking specifically at chromosomes 11 and 14 he showed that linkage dysequilibrium increases closer to imprinted gene clusters. Peter Laird from the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles followed this with a look at DNA methylation in human cancers, discussing the potential value of DNA methylation-based cancer detection at different stages of tumor formation--from risk assessment to monitoring of recurrence. Laird paid particular attention to a technology called MethyLight, a set-up based on real time PCR, which he said can be used to spot aberrant methylation patters as cancer classification markers, detection markers and risk assessment markers. He asked the audience to imagine 'the dream of going into a doctor's office and doing a methylation screen' which would show whether a patient has cancer, and where to look for it. At present, he said, MethyLight is the only technology that can readily determine the methylation status of large numbers of CpG islands on very large numbers of samples. Monday morning, attention shifted to regulatory RNA and translational control--specifically, microRNAs. In one nice talk, Eric Lai from the Sloan Kettering Institute in New York described his recent work using both cloning and computational approaches to identifying microRNAs--which, as he said, are now thought to be one of the most extensive and pervasive gene families. Working with 454 Life Sciences, a subsidiary of CuraGen, Lai's group is screening the drosophila genome for small RNAs. The first reads have recently come back showing some 500,000 small RNAs of which 20% were perfect genome hits for drosophila loci which promise to be 'a treasure trove of stuff to analyze,' Lai said, and more are yet to come. Meanwhile, he went on to describe work that aims to answer what all these microRNAs do. In one example, he showed how determining the expression patterns of the Hox gene and its microRNA iab-4 in situ offer clues about how they work to govern the identity of body segments along the anterior-posterior axis during development. His talk finished with a slide showing New York city and his email address under the title positions available. 'If anyone wants to come to New York,' he said. 'I've got an empty lab waiting.'
Advertisement
The Scientist
The Scientist

Follow The Scientist

icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube
Advertisement

Stay Connected with The Scientist

  • icon-facebook The Scientist Magazine
  • icon-facebook The Scientist Careers
  • icon-facebook Neuroscience Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Genetic Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Cell Culture Techniques
  • icon-facebook Microbiology and Immunology
  • icon-facebook Cancer Research and Technology
  • icon-facebook Stem Cell and Regenerative Science
Advertisement
Advertisement