The term epigenetics today is used specifically in reference to changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the genomic DNA sequence. Researchers have not only discovered epigenetically heritable phenotypes, but also that mechanisms of controlling gene expression include DNA methylation and histone modification.
Glen Research provides a series of 5-position modified cytosine monomers for the synthesis of oligonucleotides containing methyl, hydroxymethyl, formyl, and carboxyl modifications that are useful in epigenetic and related gene expression research. This note is an introductory overview that will provide some background to the interested reader. We will look at a fascinating recent research application that leverages the epigenetic 5-methylcytosine modification in a biosensor to detect DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) activity in tumor cells.