Behavioral Epigenetics : Biological Heredity And Nurture

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Do the experiences or events that your parents, grandparents or even great grandparents had in the past affect your genes? Why do some humans have mental health issues and others do not? Behavioral epigenetics examines how nurture shapes nature, where nature refers to biological heredity and nurture refers to everything that occurs during the animal 's lifespan. Epigenetics is the study of alterations in an organism caused by modifications of gene expressions instead of alterations of the genetic code itself. Behavioral epigenetics is the field of study, which analyzes the role epigenetics have in shaping human or animal behavior. Epigenetics works by wrapping DNA around histone octamers to form nucleosomes. Genes will be transcribed or silenced depending on the spacing of nucleosomes, which is determined by complex processes, including post-translational modification of DNA and histones as well as the large numbers of chromatin regulatory proteins recruited to interact with these modifications (Nestler). Behavioral epigenetics explains why humans and animals behave the way they do, not by changing the DNA, but by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code, which in turn changes behavior in multiple generations. To study behavioral epigenetics, scientists first used rats because it was easy to observe and collect data over many generations. One experiment, scientists observed behavioral epigenetics with rats is maternal care. Rat pups that

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