Sunday, January 30, 2011
DNA: The Blueprint for Life
Although the human genome has been cracked, there are still endless questions about how genes are turned on and off, and how to exactly do so. I am personally curious in this field of genetics, known as epigenetics. Patterns of gene expression are governed by the cellular material — the epigenome — that sits on top of the genome. It is these epigenetic marks that tell your genes to switch on or off. It is through epigenetic marks that environmental factors like diet, stress and prenatal nutrition can make an imprint on genes that is passed from one generation to the next. Helping individuals not inherit transmissible diseases or avoid being more prone to obesity is a great application of this knowledge.