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Epigenetics

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Your DNA Isn't Your Destiny -
from wired.com.


Link

Exciting news from the world of science and medical research.  Just as we are struggling to comprehend the ramifications of genetics and the human genome map, science is beginning to penetrate the frontiers of epigenetics.

Definition of epigenetics (Wikipedia)

Excerpt from wired.com -

The epigenome can change according to an individual's environment, and is passed from generation to generation. It's part of the reason why "identical" twins can be so different, and it's also why not only the children but the grandchildren of women who suffered malnutrition during pregnancy are likely to weigh less at birth.

"Now we're even talking about how to see if socioeconomic status has an impact on the epigenome," Szyf said.

Researchers have already linked some human cancers with epigenetic changes. In a few years, scientists hope that doctors, by looking at an individual's epigenome, will be able to detect cancer early and determine what treatments to use.

While the term "epigenetics" was coined in 1942, the science of epigenetics is still in its infancy, teeming with potential.  Essentially, information can be passed on to genetic descendants of a cell without the information being encoded (hard wired) in the DNA.  Two cells with identical DNA can have differing fates depending on other influences such as environment.  The "genetic expression" of a cell can be altered by environmental factors, which means we are not necessarily destined to the fate predetermined by hardwired information encoded in our DNA.

It's a bit heady, but I do understand the medical implications of advances in this field of science will be nothing short of, uh...remarkable.

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