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Our Favorite Genetics Stories of 2022
This year’s stories highlight the expanding versatility of genetic techniques and the increasing utility of such research in all life science fields.
Our Favorite Genetics Stories of 2022
Our Favorite Genetics Stories of 2022

This year’s stories highlight the expanding versatility of genetic techniques and the increasing utility of such research in all life science fields.

This year’s stories highlight the expanding versatility of genetic techniques and the increasing utility of such research in all life science fields.

transgenerational epigenetic inheritance
zebrafish in an aquarium
Epigenetics May Remember Ancestors’ Mutations
Holly Barker | Dec 1, 2022 | 4 min read
Parents’ mutations, even if they’re not inherited by offspring, could affect subsequent generations through changes to epigenetic marks, a study finds.
Illustration from the epigenetics and the genome infographic
Infographic: How Epigenetic Marks Can Change the Genome
Katarina Zimmer | Nov 1, 2022 | 2 min read
Although epigenetic changes were long thought to largely act on the genome, rather than as part of it, research is now showing that these patterns can, directly or indirectly, change the genetic code.
The Epigenetic Origins of Allergy and Asthma
The Scientist Speaks Ep. 15 - The Epigenetic Origins of Allergy and Asthma
The Scientist Creative Services Team | 1 min read
Epigenetic marks acquired from environmental exposures throughout life influence human health and may even transcend generations.
Cellular DNA and epigenetics
Do Epigenetic Changes Influence Evolution?
Katarina Zimmer | Nov 1, 2022 | 10+ min read
Evidence is mounting that epigenetic marks on DNA can influence future generations in a variety of ways. But how such phenomena might affect large-scale evolutionary processes is hotly debated.
Illustration showing epigenetic changes
Infographic: Questions Linger About Epigenetic Inheritance
Catherine Offord | Apr 4, 2022 | 3 min read
Some studies suggest that associations between the health of children and the experiences of their parents or grandparents may be due to epigenetic mechanisms, but confounding factors challenge this interpretation.
Illustration showing two hands join, father or mother with child
Does Human Epigenetic Inheritance Deserve a Closer Look?
Catherine Offord | Apr 4, 2022 | 10+ min read
The concept of epigenetic inheritance has long been controversial. Some researchers hope that new data on cross-generational effects of environmental exposures will help settle the debate.
False color image of two Caenorhabditis elegans roundworms; blue on a black background
Mitochondrial Stress Is Passed Between Generations
Amanda Heidt | Dec 1, 2021 | 3 min read
Researchers identified a novel mechanism by which chemically induced stress is “remembered” by the mitochondria of worms more than 50 generations after the original trigger.
How C. elegans Transmit Stress Signals to Offspring
Infographic: How C. elegans Transmit Stress Signals to Offspring
Amanda Heidt | Dec 1, 2021 | 1 min read
Neurons stressed with chemicals produce Wnt, which in turn triggers changes in the germline.
A Black woman stands in profile with her head turned towards the camera, smiling
Bianca Jones Marlin Traces How Sensory Inputs Shape the Brain
Annie Melchor | Oct 1, 2021 | 3 min read
The Columbia University neuroscientist researches the biology behind some of our most human experiences, including building family relationships. 
Oded Rechavi Studies the RNA Nematodes Pass to Their Offspring
Emily Makowski | Jan 13, 2020 | 3 min read
The Tel Aviv University researcher is interested in how the macromolecules affect the health and behavior of successive generations of worms.
How Worms Avoid Eating Bad Bacteria and Warn Their Offspring Too
Jef Akst | Dec 12, 2019 | 3 min read
A small RNA in Pseudomonas triggers an avoidance response in C. elegans that can be passed on to the next generation, according to research presented at this week’s meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology.
c elegans transgenerational epigenetic inheritance behavior neuron genetics
Worm Parents Pass on Behaviors Epigenetically to Offspring
Katarina Zimmer | Jun 7, 2019 | 7 min read
Two research groups demonstrate that in Caenorhabditis elegans, behavioral traits can be passed down through the germline to future generations, even though they aren’t hard-wired.
sperm epigenetics cancer risk heritability histones
Mice Inherit Cancer Susceptibility Via Epigenetic Changes in Sperm
Emma Yasinski | Apr 19, 2019 | 3 min read
Mouse fathers whose sperm lacks the gene Kdm6a pass down altered methylation patterns to male offspring, along with a better chance of developing tumors and dying.
Could Grandpa’s Early Diet Affect Your Health?
Shawna Williams | Apr 1, 2019 | 4 min read
A large study seeks to answer whether a man’s childhood diet has transgenerational repercussions.
agouti mice Epigenetic Inheritance the scientist
Classic Mechanism of Epigenetic Inheritance Is Rare, Not the Rule
Ashley Yeager | Mar 1, 2019 | 3 min read
A study suggests that the direct transfer of DNA methylation marks from one generation to the next is much less common than scientists previously thought.
Effects of Antidepressants Span Three Generations in Fish
Diana Kwon | Dec 10, 2018 | 4 min read
Fluoxetine dampened stress responses in zebrafish embryos exposed to the drug—and their descendants.
Infographic: Exercise’s Effects on the Brain
Ashley Yeager | Nov 1, 2018 | 1 min read
Identifying the molecular interactions that occur all over the body during exercise could reveal how it affects learning and memory.
How Exercise Reprograms the Brain
Ashley Yeager | Nov 1, 2018 | 10 min read
As researchers unravel the molecular machinery that links exercise and cognition, working out is emerging as a promising neurotherapy.
Nicotine’s Effects Passed On Through Generations of Mice
Kerry Grens | Oct 16, 2018 | 2 min read
Male rodents exposed to nicotine had changes in sperm genome methylation and produced pups and grandpups with abnormal behavior.
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