The study of epigenetics looks at how cells read genes and how genes are switched on/off by external chemical/environmental stimuli. Research into epigenetics may one day allow us to reprogram whole cells allowing for new forms of treatment for disease and a variety of different types of disorders including psychiatric.
Before conducting research and watching numerous informational videos on epigenetics, I would have never believed that when my grandmother was my age, she made dietary decisions that have affected me. Technically speaking, epigenetics simply means above genetics. In other words, epigenetics is the traits that you and I inherit, but do not necessarily necessitate the sequence of genes. I took me a while to actually grasp the concept until I thought of it from a musical perspective. Imagine our DNA helix strands as a musical score. There are different music notes as there are genes. If someone were to play Beethoven’s Symphony Number 5 correctly, it would sound the same every time. Basically, if one note is changed, the whole musical piece
Phenotypes depend on the genes that code for them, but the expression of genes can depend on multiple factors including the environment. Epigenetics is a field in science that focuses on how the environmental plays a role in in the development of certain phenotypes by affecting gene expression. Epigenetics influences all species and works through DNA methylation and can be influenced by multiple external factor such as growth hormones.
Epigenetics refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes on or off. These alterations do not change the DNA sequence, but instead, they affect how cells read genes. One common example of an epigenetic change is DNA methylation. DNA methylation is the addition of a methyl group to part of the DNA molecule which prevents certain genes from being expressed. It should be noted that epigenetics is a fairly new subdivision in genetics and its importance in evolution and heritability is currently being developed and debated (Furrow 2011).
Epigenetics is the future of science. It has evolved from being a science that very few believed in, to one that will shape medicine as it is known. As the Human Genome Project began, the goal was to determine which genes controlled what phenotypes in a human. After all the genes were identified and mapped, the expression of the genes that the scientists had just discovered was also beginning to be analyzed (EPIGENETICS). Although every gene had been identified and associated with a function, there were genes that if not expressed or not turned on, would create a different scenario. That is, the idea that the genotype of an individual would determine their phenotype was reinforced. Epigenetics however is the study of the switching on or off of the genes responsible for a particular action (Feinberg). For example, all of the organs of a single person have the exact same DNA as the others, yet a lung looks drastically different from a kidney. This is due to the expression of the genes responsible for creating a specific organ. If scientists are able to control the switching on and off of these genes, then many extraordinary possibilities exist.
Epigenetics is defined as the science that studies communicable and reversible changes in gene expression not involving changes in the genetic support that is DNA. These changes can occur at the DNA level (cytosine methylation) or DNA binding proteins
According to Rachael Rettner, Epigenetics is defined as, “external modifications to DNA that turn genes on or off. These modifications to DNA do not change the DNA sequence, but instead, they affect how cells read genes.” (Rettner 2013) Epigenetics is thought to possibly have a role in the development of some cancers. Since epigenetics modifies DNA, they can hide a growth, so to speak, or it can play a role in repairing the DNA’s damage. (Rettner 2013) If the changes are in the person’s sperm or egg cells, there is a possibility of that person’s children, or they’re children’s children, getting the modified DNA. (Rettner 2013) In a process called reprogramming, when the sperm and egg combine it allows the fetus to make its own epigenetic changes,
Epigenetics, as a simplified definition, is the study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off.
Researchers first thought the genes you receive from your parents are set in stone since they are made of a genetic code set in our DNA sequence;however, they are discovering that there is a second layer of structure that combines with DNA to decide whether or not a gene is active or not, called the epigenome. The epigenome consists of the DNA, histones, a protein DNA is wrapped around, and chemical tags. The epigenome alters the genetic code by directing signals. The signals come from the environment, which are reacted upon by epigenetic tags to turn a gene either on or off without affecting the DNA sequence. Certain things from our environment that send signals to epigenetic tags to change our genes in the epigenome includes the following:
Epigenetics can be defined as a way of turning on and off certain genes in your body, which as evidence has shown, we have a lot more control of than we thought. The video on epigenetics was so great, I did not have a clear idea of what epigenetics was. Watching the video really enlightens how far we have come in research of the human body. I find the advancements that have been made using epigenetics with cancer to be one of the best sections of the thirteen minute video. Just knowing the fact that half of the patients that complied with the research whom had cancer to begin with are now in remission is a great accomplishment. I also found the fact that we have more control over our epigenes, we are to modify our own genes by just following
Define Epigenetics Epigenetics is the study of chemical reactions and factors that influence the reactions controlling growth and development of an organism to be activated or deactivated in specific locations of genome at specific times.
The PBS video called “Epigenetics” brought to light some very interesting views. Through rats scientist have been able to see the works of epigenetics and believe that the finding have led to the idea that the change in genetics has the same effect on humans. The most interesting part of the video was that younger pairs of twins have very similar genes, but the older pairs of twin have more epigenetic difference in their genes. This validates the idea that the epigenetic difference in old twins is caused by environmental factors such as lifestyle choices. The idea also alludes to the idea that our parents and grandparents healthy and epigenetics may affect my heath and my children’s health. This leads to the inclination that my child’s health
For years, scientists believed DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, was the end-all-be-all: a mould for our cells to be created from. Which does not sound far-fetched since DNA contains all of the information needed for replication, differentiation, growth, and development, in addition to the countless cellular fates, as described in Waddington’s landscape. Instead, DNA is a guide for our cells, and Epigenetics is the tool that coerces them into their final cellular form. The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance written by Nessa Carey, outlines the process of DNA versus Epigenetics, and the developments they have had within the scientific field. This paper will examine the fundamental distinction constructed by Nessa Carey between DNA as a script versus a template. This analogy of DNA as a script.
It is often thought that our DNA is a concert blue print and the way we personally engage with the environment has no effect on our future generation. However through experiments and recent studies, scientists have discovered external environmental factors can effect ones DNA sequence. It was found that genes have the ability to switch on and off and affect how cells read genes. This new avenue is called Epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression. It describes the outward phenotypic appearance that is not the result to changes in the DNA sequence but instead, changes to the chemical tags that overlay the genome. Epigenetics is often described as the missing link between the environment an individual is exposed
There is a concept in science that has been taught since the beginning of genetics. The genome lays down the blue prints for most all of a person’s physical features, but an embryo is a blank slate. Its epigenome doesn’t carry anything down from the parents. What’s not being taught today is that this information isn’t completely true. The epigenome carries epigenetic tags of past experiences, which can be passed down to future generations. The University of Utah Health Sciences Department gives a simple version of the definition of epigenetics, “As an organism grows and develops, carefully orchestrated chemical reactions activate and deactivate parts of the genome at strategic times and in specific locations. Epigenetics is the study of these chemical reactions and the factors that influence them.” There is no modification to the DNA sequence, rather the way cells read the genes is changed. Epigenetic tags are turned on and off based on signals from the environment, which is important to help us adapt to the environment around us and to form new memories. Because the body is made up mostly of differentiated cells, there is plenty of room for change depending on the stimulus in early development through old age.