Paper on Epigenetics

1034 Words5 Pages
Epigenetics: interaction of DNA methylation and chromatin Epigenetics is a field where advances are being made daily. Epigenetics is defined as “heritable changes in gene expression that occur without a change in DNA sequence,” as stated by Dr. Alan Wolffe. A way in which we can understand this definition is by taking the analogy of a card game. The cards, the DNA sequence, have been dealt and will not change, however we need to understand how to play the cards, the rules, which is epigenetics. The guidelines can vary and completely change the way the card game is played and who comes out on top. The rules that are studied and understood through this research paper are those of DNA methylation and chromatin. These changes can produce…show more content…
So how is DNA methylated? Methylation takes place at the 5’ C and 3’G base pair. More specifically at the cytosine carbon and the same in the complimentary strand to this. This is not only done at a few sites, rather about 60-90% of these carbons are methylated! An area that is highly methylated will actually help to repress gene expression if it is methylated at CpG island sites, where transcription beings. DNA methylation can also result in inactivation of tumor suppression in cancer cells when it becomes abnormal, due to this, epigenetics becomes a strong focus point when studying cancer. Also this leads to the cytosine’s being replaced by a thymine, leaving behind a dangerous T-G pairing which will be inherited and passed down through laterdivision. Another way this epigenetic phenomenon is benefitted from is its use in gene therapy. When foreign genes are used into a new host, they are methylated and thus suppressed as a “host defense mechanism.” There are actually enzymes involved in the methylation, they are called, as one may be able to guess, DNA methyltransferases. There are two kinds of this enzyme the DNMT1 (maintenance) and de novo methylase. The first kind is responsible for methylating DNA that has one side already methylated, because it is a new daughter strand. The other methyltransferase is the one which creates the
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