Articles on Epigenetics

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Moving forward in science doesn’t mean moving back in politics. Weeklydig

Gay genetics research still causes irrational fears

Why does a “gay gene” paper still cause a stir? A similar paper on any other topic would probably have passed unnoticed. But this is sex research – where public interest is huge but real funds and real…
Cancer disproportionately affects the old. lnmurrey

Ageing cells reveal features of cancer

The older we get, the higher our risk of cancer. With age, we accumulate exposure to environments and chemicals that increase…
Fashion tastes probably change too. Simon Whittaker

How your grandparents’ life could have changed your genes

If your great-grandparents lived through a famine, their experience could well have altered their genetic code. And three generations later you could well be showing signs of that change. The idea that…
The difference between developing as a normal male and being intersex can be down to a single gene. briansuda

Ambiguous genitals? You may have wrinkly genes

Sex in mammals, including mouse and human, is determined genetically and depends on the paternal sex chromosome - X or Y - received at the time of fertilisation. If nothing goes wrong, an XX individual…
Genetics can explain a black or white cat in a litter, but what about a stripey cat? Enter epigenetics. Taylor Bennett

Explainer: what is epigenetics?

The word epigenetics means things imposed “on top of genetics”. But what sort of things? Imagine a white mouse breeds with a black mouse – say you get three white babies and three black babies. That’s…
One in three Australian babies are born by caesarean – but we still don’t know the lifetime effects on the offspring. Image from

Can caesarean sections increase susceptibility to disease?

Despite efforts to reduce intervention rates during labour, vaginal births without medical intervention are becoming increasingly rare in Australia and overseas: nearly one in three women in Australian…
The Indian Myna is an invasive species – but has its behaviour changed in Australia? Wikimedia Commons.

Besieged by destructive plants and animals? Blame epigenetics

Plants and animals that are seemingly harmless in their native habitats can become quite aggressive or even destructive in a new location. Think of the rats that have been a source of human and animal…
Epigenetic factors can change due to environmental factors, such as diet, toxins and stress. leeroy09481/Flickr

Explainer: how epigenetics is providing insight into cancer

DNA provides the instructions to make us how we look and contributes to our life expectancy. Identical twins have exactly the same DNA, so why are slightly different in many ways? The answer is epigenetics…
The human brain can write plays and build robots, but where did this intelligence come from? ores2k

Human intelligence: why are we the smartest primates?

Intelligence is our most complex characteristic. Some would even say it defines us, setting us apart from other primates. And now, a new study – published this week by Hennady P. Shulha and colleagues…
Men play an equal, if not larger, role in passing on genetic mutations to their children. Bettina Neuefeind

Men’s ‘biological clock’ linked to schizophrenia and autism

We all know about the reproductive “biological clock” in women reminding them of the finite time in which they can have children. Now researchers have found evidence that men also have a reproductive “best…
These genes exert their influence through the immune system. Flickr/Natashacld

Revealed: 57 pieces of the MS puzzle

In one of the largest human genetic studies ever undertaken, scientists have identified the major common genetic variants that contribute to the cause of the devastating neurological disease, multiple…
Try as you might, there’s no proof you can control your genetic expression. mutsmuts/Flickr

Think you can think yourself better? Think again

Can the way we think influence the way we feel? Most of us would say yes. But can thinking affect the way our bodies behave on a genetic level? Can we, in essence, think ourselves better? A growing band…

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