Researchers have discovered a mechanism that regulates the process of gene imprinting in mice, a chemical modification to one of the histones called H3K27me3. This may lead to a range of epigenetic therapies for a variety of developmental disorders.
DNA Methylation And Genomic Imprinting
Genomic imprinting is the biological process that turns genes on and off to help control early mammalian development as the embryo and placenta grow. Although errors in genomic imprinting can cause profound developmental defects and severe disorders that lead to lifelong health problems, neither the mechanisms behind genomic imprinting nor the errors that cause errors in the process are well understood.
Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School scientists are working to remedy that shortcoming, and have identified a mechanism that regulates the process of gene imprinting in mice, including certain genes central to placental growth. Should the mechanism be confirmed via further research in humans, it is likely to offer a range of epigenetic therapies for various developmental disorders such as autism.