Ever wonder why family genetics don’t always make sense? According to the increasing number of publications on epigenetics, shown above, there may be both environmental and social influences involved.

What is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the change in gene expression that results from environmental and social causes that are not related to the DNA itself.  “The word literally means ‘on top of genetics,’ and it’s the study of how individual genes can be activated or deactivated by life experiences.“

The study of epigenetics not only looks at traits that are genetic but also considers environmental factors.  Epigenetics looks at gene expression – what we see –  and looks to explain it on a cellular level.

Relation to Genomics Moon Launch

Epigenetics is offering new ways to look at DNA sequences and gene expression.  As shown in Discovery’s slideshow there have been five connections between epigenetics, genomics and cancer – environment, disease development, cancer, social interaction, and prenatal care.

Who Is Doing It?

There are a number of hospitals and universities that are using epigenetics in their effort to cure cancer.  Furthermore, a Time Magazine article explores the power of epigenetics to affect the future and life of an individual.

Future

Currently, many researchers are focusing on the power of epigenetics in cancer and early human development.  The hope is to take the entire human genome, human interaction and the environment into consideration and find the true cause of many of the diseases that plague humans in the 21st century.                         

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