RNA-Seq to Study Epigenetics of Obesity

from the Houston Chronicle

Hangzhou, China (PRWEB) May 29, 2012 – In a new study published online in Nature Communications, researchers from Sichuan Agricultural University and LC Sciences report the miRNAome in porcine adipose and muscle tissues. The report provides a valuable epigenomic source for obesity prediction and prevention and furthers the development of pig as a model organism for human obesity research.

Scientists now know that the genetic code alone isn’t responsible for adult phenotype or even the offspring of these adults. Epigenetics refers to changes in gene expression affecting phenotype that don’t involve changes to the DNA nucleotide sequence itself, and yet are heritable. DNA methylation, histone modification and microRNA (miRNA) expression are examples of epigenetic mechanisms that have recently been identified as important regulators of gene expression in many biological systems.

Obesity is a huge problem worldwide. Recently, the World Health Organization reported that obesity levels doubled in every region of the world between 1980 and 2008, spurring rates of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer that now account for almost two out of three deaths globally. It has become evident that epigenetic factors, such as DNA methylation and miRNA expression, have essential roles in obesity development. (read more…)

  • Li, M. et al. (2012)An atlas of DNA methylomes in porcine adipose and muscle tissues. Nat Commun[Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]