Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that are not actually encoded in the DNA of the genome. These effects are mediated by the covalent attachment of chemical groups to DNA and its associated proteins, histones and chromatin. Types of modification include:
There is great potential for translational research via these studies. Encouraging evidence has linked epigenetic effects to oncogenesis progression and treatment (1), the regulation of development and function of the nervous system (2), gene regulation (3), cellular stress events (3), nutrigenomics (4), aging and DNA repair (5). Considerable ongoing efforts by researchers are directed towards identifying the dynamic functions of various epigenetic marks, and elucidating their mechanisms to contextualize epigenomes.
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