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Assignment 6

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Epigenetics: Research scientists are investigating many phenotypic differences between people
(and other organisms) that are not caused by direct differences in the DNA sequence. Such
effects on gene expression that are not directly based on DNA-level, or genetic, changes, are
known to be epigenetic (above the genetic level) changes. Many of the studies done in this field
of science have used identical twins (who have the same DNA), to look at changes in their
"epigenome" over time. Epigenetic modifications can be direct additions of chemical groups
(like methyl) to DNA, but are most commonly additions of chemical groups to the tails of
histone proteins. This directly influences gene expression (at the level of transcription) by
changing how tightly-bound the DNA is to the histone proteins, influencing which genes are in a
euchromatin vs. heterochromatin state.
For our Discussion topic this week,
Read the Special Topics section in the back of your textbook on "Epigenetics," found on page
464-473
For our discussion this week, include the following in your initial post:
What you knew about epigenetics before reading this section
What I knew about epigenetics was that as the word implies, epigenetics means something above
the scope of the routine genetics we are familiar with. Therefore, Epigenetics have a role in
leading to those traits which are not dictated by having the same or similar DNA.
What questions you had while reading this section
While reading this section, I had the question in my mind that why does such addition or
modification to the DNA takes place in the first case which leads to two different expressions in
identical twins. What are the causes of such modifications and how often can we expect such
modifications to take place.
One cool thing you learned about epigenetics
One cool thing I learned about epigenetics was that genetics is not the only thing which
determines how a person will grow up or what can be forecasted about a life at the time of its
birth based solely upon the genetic makeup. Knowing something is above or superior to genetics
is something cool for me.
Answers to questions 1-4 of the “Discussion Questions” section on page 473
1. Yes, after studying epigenetics, it seems likely that such changes can be brought about
by using the knowledge of and applying the principles of epigenetics.
2. Yes fertility clinics should be required by law to do so. I and my partner will balance the
risk by having a thorough genetic testing first before opting for an ART.
3. Role of epigenetics is evident in cancers. Epigenetic diseases can definitely be cancerous
in nature.

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Epigenetics: Research scientists are investigating many phenotypic differences between people (and other organisms) that are not caused by direct differences in the DNA sequence. Such effects on gene expression that are not directly based on DNA-level, or genetic, changes, are known to be epigenetic (above the genetic level) changes. Many of the studies done in this field of science have used identical twins (who have the same DNA), to look at changes in their "epigenome" over time. Epigenetic modifications can be direct additions of chemical groups (like methyl) to DNA, but are most commonly ...
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Anonymous
Very useful material for studying!

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