Essay On Epigenetics

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Epigenetics is the study of how some circumstances in life can cause genes to be either turned on or turned off. Circumstances like where one lives, teratogens (environmental toxins) (Siegler et al., 2014), or what one eats can potentially cause modifications to the genes that either turn on or off specific genes over a period of time. In other words, people often think their “fixed” a birth, however experiences play a vital role in gene expression. Epigenetics can affect development because depending on one’s life experiences it can change the course for better or worse. An example of how epigenetics can affect development is through prenatal development. According to Santrock, “During prenatal development, toxins, nutrition, and stress…show more content…
A possible implication for health was demonstrated with two genetically identical mice shown in the NOVA ScienceNOW (2012) video. The researcher changed the diet of pregnant female mice causing epigenetic changes in the offspring that intensely affected their health (NOVA ScienceNOW, 2012). Alas, the offspring overate, and became overweight like their mothers. Another study performed with identical twin pairs at the ages of three and fifty demonstrated that “the greater the differences in the twins’ lifestyles and experiences, the greater the differences in their methylation levels” (Siegler et al., 2014 as cited in e.g., Fraga et al, 2005). Methylation is a process that reduces gene expression (Siegler et al., 2014). In regards to longevity, NOVA ScienceNOW (2012) states that epigenetics effects occur over a human lifespan and not just in the womb. This was demonstrated at the Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory in Madrid, Spain. Manel Estella conducted research on forty pairs of identical twins ranging from young to old. The study suggests identical twins can have very different DNA by the time they reach old age (NOVA ScienceNOW,

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