“Cells use their DNA code in different ways, depending on their jobs [heart, brain, lung, skin cell etc] — just as the [chamber] orchestra in this video can perform one piece of music in many different ways. The combination of changes in gene expression in a cell is called its epigenome.”
Epigenomic changes are chemical changes, ‘tweaks’, to DNA and to the protein packaging the DNA. They don’t directly affect genes themselves but affect regions of the genetic code that turns genes on or off. Methylation is one such tweak that primes a gene to be switched off. Environment, diet, exercise and activity, whether you smoke or drink, and many other external factors can alter your epigenome, thus providing a link between nature and nurture, your behaviour, health, longevity, and even those characteristics of your offspring and grandchildren. More on the symphony playing in your cells here.
KEYWORDS: Epigenome, epigenomic, epigenetics, genetics, genome, genomics, gene, genes, DNA, methylation, health, disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease (AD)