Epigenetics, the study of heritable changes not involving changes in DNA sequence, saw a huge boost in public awareness in 2006. There were a number of high profile discoveries in the realm of epigenetics that were unveiled (or progressed) in 2006, which aid in increasing awareness of the field as a legitimate avenue to exciting advancements such as cancer treatment, early screening for cancer, the fetal basis of disease, and epigenetic inheritance in mammals.
- The Journal of Epigenetics made its debut in 2006, which offers a new venue for topics such as DNA methylation, maternal and paternal imprinting, and histone modifications.
- Discover Magazine featured a cover story on epigenetics, informing the larger public about the major advances that epigenetics is having on various areas of science and health.
- Epigenomics, the company developing cancer screening tests based on DNA methylation-based biomarkers, made good progress during 2006, but encountered major setbacks during the latter half of the year. It will be interesting to see how Epigenomics fairs in 2007.
- A new voice for epigenetics emerged in the form of a blog that aims to cover discoveries and advances in this sparsely covered field.
- The MIT Technology Review recognized epigenetics as an emerging technology in early 2006.
- In its new 5-Year Plan, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) identified epigenetics as a high priority.
There were a number of other advances in epigenetics in 2006 that will be discussed in an upcoming post.
Update: Part 2 is now available.
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