Monthly Archives: April 2011

Epigenetics And The Inheritance Of Acquired States

Epigenetics as a scientific field has undergone an explosion in productivity arising from genome sequencing projects.  We are now starting to understand how environment factors – such as nutrition and various stresses – regulate how DNA is modified as well as how genes are turned on and off.  We are also learning how epigenetic factors relate to the development of stem cells and cancer.  Evidence of this is that there are numerous meetings on the immediate horizon addressing epigenetics.

I recently mentioned one meeting here, but another is this symposium sponsored by the academic journal Cell.  Some of the topics for discussion at this meeting include: chromatin and its replication, the role of RNA in epigenetic inheritance, the inheritance of cellular states of stem cells, methylation, and mechanisms of epigenetic gene silencing.

Registration for this symposium is now open.

The International Mycological Association’s Fungus Journal

The International Mycological Association has upgraded their recently inaugurated journal IMA Fungus (see here and here) and joined with the Ingenta Connect group of journal publishing.  I have high hopes for the content of this journal in the future as there is an excellent group of editors and researchers on the steering committee.  Too bad it doesn’t look like it will become open access.

Plant Genome Evolution Meeting, Amsterdam

Thanks to next-generation sequencing, the number of genomes that been deciphered is rapidly increasing.  Plants have somewhat lagged behind other organisms – due to very large and complex genomes requiring both sequencing and computational energy – but despite these hurdles the number of completed plant genomes are starting to increase rapidly (just look at Phytozome for more evidence of this).

In order to deal with the increasingly large amount of genomic data, the Plant Genome Evolution Meeting, held this year in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, seeks to gather researchers studying plant evolution and comparative genomics.  This symposium is sponsored by the Current Opinion series of scientific journals.  An early conference program has been announced here and registration is located here.

Mini-symposium – The Science, History, and Health Benefits of Chocolate

A couple of months back, I told you about the Cocao genome sequence project partially initiated by researchers at Penn State University.  These same researchers are now sponsoring a one day mini-symposium on chocolate, on April 25th, which includes talks on the genomics of Cacao, the ethnobotanical uses of chocolate in the Americas, and the health benefits of eating chocolate.  This symposium is free to the public.


Chromatin and Epigenetic Regulation of Transcription

In its 30th year, the Summer Symposium in Molecular Biology sponsored by Pennsylvania State University will this year focus on chromatin.  The symposium will present numerous speakers who are concerned with epigenetics and the role of chromatin in the regulation of gene transcription in both normal and disease cells.


ChloroFilms is nonprofit project which seeks to develop plant biology education through the promotion of video content about the wonders of plants and plant associated life.  ChloroFilms provides cash awards for videos produced about plants.  Initial funding for the project came from grants from the American Society of Plant Biologists, the Botanical Society of America, Penn State Institutes for Energy and the Environment, and the Canadian Botanical Association.

Get your cameras ready and start filming!

Here are three award winning films: