Minute to Understanding: What is epigenetics?
What is epigenetics?
Learn how epigenetic changes can affect an individual — without physically changing their DNA sequence.
Genetics is your genes. And each gene has a unique sequence that makes a protein that does something in your body.
A genetic mutation is a hardcopy change in one or more parts of that sequence.
This could just make you, you. Or it could contribute to a genetic disease.
An epigenetic change also changes a gene’s DNA — but not at the sequence level.
Instead, special marks are added or removed to change how a protein works in the body. These could also contribute to disease. How these marks appear is a hot research topic. Some causes may be diet, stressors or environmental pollutants.
What’s important about epigenetics is that it offers a different approach to treating disease. Whereas a hardcopy genetic mutation is difficult to fix, finding ways to remove a bad epigenetic mark, or add a good one, could be an easier solution.
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