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SPECIAL TOPICS

Epigenetics

Published: March 2009
 

The baseline time span for this database is (publication years) 1998-December 31, 2008 from the sixth bimonthly update (an 11-year period). The resulting database contained 11,184 (10 years) and 4,246 (2 years) papers; 33,541 authors; 97 nations; 1,772 journals; and 4,877 institutions. See additional paper information below in the overview & methodology sections.

Top 20 Papers

  10-year period
  2-year period

Top 20 Overall

  Authors
  Institutions
  Journals
  Nations

Research Front Map

  Map title: "EPIGENETIC GENE REGULATION"
  Map title: "ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA DNA METHYLATION"

Time Series

  1- & 5-year periods

Field Distribution

Interviews

  Interviews, first-person essays, and profiles about people in a wide variety of fields which pertain to this special topic of Epigenetics.
   

OVERVIEW

Epigenetics is a term with a long history, but today it refers to the heritable changes in phenotype or gene expression that do not come from an alteration in DNA structure or sequence. The field focuses on organism development, origins of cancer, evolution, and the potential for medical applications. This month, ScienceWatch.com takes a look at the literature on epigenetics over the past decade and over the past two years.

The search strategy was a simple one: a keyword (title, abstract, keywords) search of original articles and review papers for the term "epigenet*." The baseline time span for this analysis was January 1, 1998-December 31, 2008 (sixth bimonthly period 2008). The resulting database contained 11,184 papers based on a 10-year extraction and 4,246 papers published over the past two years. To create a more on-point list of the top 20 papers for the past decade and the past two years, the papers were further narrowed down by the title keyword "epigenet*." This adjustment resulted in the top 20 papers being selected from a pool of 2,510 papers (10 years) and 1,022 papers (2 years).

The role of epigenetics in cancer is a major focus of the top papers from the last 10 years, with particular emphasis on the mechanism of DNA methylation. Two papers also deal with epigenetic alterations in the RAS domain family protein in the development of lung and breast cancers. The role of histone methylation in heterochromatin assembly control is also addressed, as well as epigenetic memory, environmental effects, chromatin modification, mammalian development, therapeutic prospects, and the epigenetic stability (or lack thereof) in embryonic stem cells and cloning.

Topics covered in the more recent papers include epigenetics in psychiatric disorders, epigenetic silencing of microRNA, the potential for a stem cell origin in cancer, the regulation of mammalian telomeres, epigenetics in plants, phenotypic plasticity, histone modifications, and epigenetic memory in malaria virulence genes.

Methodology: The baseline time span for this database is (publication years) 1998-December 31, 2008 from the sixth bimonthly update (an 11-year period). The resulting database contained 11,184 (10 years) and 4,246 (2 years) papers; 33,541 authors; 97 nations; 1,772 journals; and 4,877 institutions. See additional paper information below in the overview & methodology sections.

Papers: To construct the top 20 papers lists for the past decade and the past two years, the papers were further narrowed down by the title keywords "epigenet*." This adjustment resulted in the top 20 papers being selected from a pool of 2,510 papers (10 years) and 1,022 papers (2 years).

Rankings: Once the database was in place, it was used to generate list of authors, journals, institutions, and nations. Rankings for author, journal, institution, and country are listed in three ways: according to total cites, total papers, and total cites/paper. The paper thresholds and corresponding percentages used to determine scientist, institution, country, and journal rankings according to total cites/paper, and total papers respectively are as follows:

Entity Authors Institutions Nations Journals
Thresholds 10 65 9 46
Percentage: 1% 1% 50% 20%

        



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