Epigenetics News

Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression that do not involve alterations to the underlying DNA sequence — a change in phenotype without a change in genotype. These changes can result from external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off and affect how cells read genes. Epigenetic changes can be natural and crucial for development, but they can also be influenced by several factors including age, the environment/lifestyle, and disease state. Epigenetic modifications are reversible and are implemented via mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modification, and RNA-associated silencing. Research in epigenetics has profound implications for understanding complex processes like development, aging, and the pathology of diseases like cancer. Increasingly, epigenetics is considered a key factor in the heritability of lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes, potentially bridging the gap between genetic predisposition and environmental influences.