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Transcript of Epigenetics
How does it work?
The experience of a fetus in the womb is a critical time for affecting development and future disease risk. Effects that occur during pregnancy may persist for generations because a female's eggs are all developed during a short time that she is in her mother's womb.
What is epigenetics?
Epigenetics is the study of the environment's influence on our gene's activity.
Epigenetic changes do not alter the letters of our DNA.
Think of epigenetics like changing punctuation (exclamation points, periods, commas, etc.)
Why is it important?
These "punctuation" changes can turn genes "on" or "off", a process called gene regulation.
Epigenetics is the study of how environmental factors impact gene regulation which controls gene expression.
Epigenetic effects on our health can be positive or negative. They depend on when in our development and where in our bodies our genes are turned "on" or "off".
Epigenetics works by "tagging" or making punctuation changes to our DNA.
Current research shows that epigenetic changes can extend over multiple generations.
Your choices now may affect your children and grandchildren.
Epigenetic changes are reversible. Your life choices make a difference!
Let's eat, Grandpa!
Let's eat Grandpa!
Think about a card game... you can be dealt a bad hand and still play well. Or, you can mess up a good hand with poor choices.
We are the product of our genes, our environment, and our choices.
Environmental factors affecting our genes
Ultraviolet light (sun) Pesticides
Drinking water pollutants Hormones
Auto Exhaust Tobacco Smoke
Radiation Social Interaction
Heavy Metals (Ni, Cr, As, Cd, Hg)
Epigenetics Later in Life
Identical twins are used to study the long term effects of the environment on our genes. At a young age, epigenetic tags are mostly the same. As they age and experience different lives, though, their epigenetic tags increasingly differ.