Intro to Epigenetics


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University of Minnesota-Morris biologist PZ Myers has written an introduction to epigenetics at Pharyngula, with some nice illustrations of some of the basic concepts and mechanisms that are generally grouped under the heading of “epigenetics.” It’s a great way to bring yourself up to speed if you don’t know much about epigenetics and want a single article to give you the basics. I’ve come to realize that the majority of the readers here are not in that crowd, as many are working in research labs and companies that have some connection to the area of epigenetics and want to keep up on the very latest developments in epigenetics. So for those are you that are not part of that group, I highly recommend that you head over to this article and read about the basics of epigenetics. Link

One of the questions brought up in the article, which has been covered here before, is what all falls under the umbrella of epigenetics? I think that this is largely an issue of semantics, with some established researchers having an interest in restricting the use of the word in literature, and many others expanding the reach of the word to greater and greater lengths. As I’ve mentioned before, I think this trend is largely a result of the funding opportunities available, and the general trend in recent years as epigenetics becoming one of the “hot new” areas of science.

Merging Blogging with the Pursuit of Academic Tenure


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John Hawks, who has maintained a popular blog focused on his field of expertise in paleoanthropology, has begun a series of posts discussing some of the pros and cons of blogging during the early years of a tenure-track position, and how he was able to successfully integrate his blogging activity into his tenure application (Hawks was granted tenure last month). The first segment (How to blog, get tenure and prosper: Starting the blog) is both insightful and honest, which is just the sort of writing I’ve come to expect from John Hawks.

A Professor and a Graduate Student Mull Over Epigenetics


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PZ Myers (Pharyngula), an associate professor in developmental biology, and Abigail Smith (erv), a graduate student studying retoroviral evolution, talk about a number of topics in a bloggingheads.tv exchange, including epigenetics. The segment of the video discussing epigenetics is embedded below.