If we talk about epigenetics, what comes to your mind?
Epigenetics has been studied to understand its impact on genetics and how, through it, science can improve human health by helping to affect positively many genetic diseases like cancer.
But let’s start from the origin: What is epigenetics?
To describes the meaning of epigenetic, we will subscribe to the definition from https://www.mskcc.org/ which states: “The word “epigenetic” literally means “above the genes.” Its real-world meaning can depend on who you ask, but one common definition is changed in gene activity that does not involve changes in the DNA sequence”.
In a sum-up, Epigenetics is the study of how cells control gene activity without changing the DNA sequence.
Did you know that epigenetics changes?
Using an example from medlineplus: “Because epigenetic changes help determine whether genes are turned on or off, they influence the production of proteins in cells. This regulation helps ensure that each cell produces only proteins that are necessary for its function. For example, proteins that promote bone growth are not produced in muscle cells. Patterns of epigenetic modification vary among individuals, in different tissues within an individual, and even in different cells within a tissue”.
National Institutes of Health – http://commonfund.nih.gov/epigenomics/figure.aspx
In fact, an article from developingchild.harvard.edu explains, that environmental influences, such as a person’s diet and exposure to pollutants, can impact the epigenome. Epigenetic modifications can be maintained from cell to cell as cells divide and, in some cases, can be inherited through the generations. A common type of epigenetic modification is called DNA methylation.
Science is studying this topic with great enthusiasm, given the existing possibilities of being able to change inheritance in many cases. Results show that the womb experience and early life may affect our risk of disease many years later.
The article, developingchild.harvard.edu, states: “Yet the idea that experience can alter gene expression is really nothing new. The outside world is continually impinging on us in ways that change how our genes are expressed. When we cut ourselves, for example, genes for making new skin cells are turned on. When we learn to play the violin, gene expression in our brain changes.
New scientific research shows that environmental influences can actually affect whether and how genes are expressed. In fact, scientists have discovered that early experiences can determine how genes are turned on and off and even whether some are expressed at all. Thus, the old ideas that genes are “set in stone” or that they alone determine development have been disproven. Nature vs. Nurture is no longer a debate—it’s nearly always both!”
Can epigenetic be reprogramming to targets rejuvenation?
A recent article from the website www.longevity.technolog“ state that Cellular reprogramming allows us to rejuvenate cells and reset their biological clocks,” said de Magalhães. “It is the most important technology available today for developing rejuvenation therapies, although it still needs to be fine-tuned for effective and safe applications. Exploiting cellular reprogramming to develop therapies for age-related diseases is extremely exciting and, if successful, may result in a paradigm shift in medicine.” You can learn more about this article here.
If you like to go further and learn about this topic, here you have more useful information:
What Is Epigenetics, and Why Is Everyone Talking about It?