The Science of change
Dr Nitika Sobti
Founder – Virtue Baby
Sr. Consultant (Obstetrics and Gynaecology)
Max Super Speciality Hospital
The word epigenetics means things imposed "on top of genetics".
The study of modifications to DNA that promote changes in gene expression without altering the DNA sequence
Conrad Waddington coined the term, “epigenetic. Waddington’s concept was a pivotal concept in developmental biology as it attempted to explain how a static set of DNA sequences could dynamically give rise to a complex organism. Pioneering work by Waddington also demonstrated compelling evidence for inheritance of a seemingly acquired characteristic in drosophila fruit flies.
In an article published in Time Magazine in 2010 entitled
“Why Your DNA Isn’t Your Destiny,” the work of Dr. Lars Olov Bygren, a preventative-specialist and researcher, is discussed. He discovered that the dietary and lifestyle conditions affected the genetic expression of not only the individual, but also their children and grandchildren. He concludes “it is through epigenetic[s]…that environmental factors like diet, stress and prenatal nutrition Prenatal nutrition, Prenatal Stress, Postnatal Behavior can make an imprint on genes that are passed from one generation to the next.”
GENETICS IS THE HARDWARE & EPIGENETICS IS THE SOFTWARE.
DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism used by cells to control gene expression. A number of mechanisms exist to control gene expression in eukaryotes, but DNA methylation is a commonly used epigenetic signaling tool that can fix genes in the “off ” position.
Researchers are currently looking at the links between DNA methylation and human diseases such as lupus, cancer, muscular dystrophy and various congenital defects. Their findings could be significant in aiding the development of therapies and for understanding and preventing conditions that develop during embryonic development as a result of abnormal methylation of the X chromosome and gene imprinting.
From where does this epigenetic information get laid on our chromatin
Perturbations of these signaling pathways can predisposed to the development of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer, Schizophrenia says Peter Becker (2015) of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
Epigenetic marks can be influenced by the environment
There is compelling evidence that epigenetic dysregulation underlines the observed associations between adult disease and adverse environmental and nutritional conditions early in development as suggested in
"Hunger Winter Studies" – Baugh principal researchers, Duke University neurobiologist, stated that starvation early in life can alter an organism for generations.