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Genetics And Epigenetic: Gene Expression And Regulation

2000 words - 8 pages

“If Genetics was the recipe then Epigenetics would be the Chef who would create his own idea of how to present the dish”, ~ Eliza Hazlerigg

For 70+ years now we have been working on our Epigenome but not really understood what it is or what it can do for us but, thanks to the works of Dr. Conrad H. Waddington “Epigenetic Landscape” 1939,

Epigenetics ~ Is the term coined to explain a variety of “bizarre” phenotypic phenomena in different organisms that can’t be elucidated by Mendelian Genetics. It is like a bridge between geno and phenotypes ~ giving explanation to how cells carrying identical DNA differentiate into different cell types and how this differentiated state remains stable;

o More recently it has evolved to mean “modifications” to DNA that affect gene expression but do not involve base changes
 These changes are regular and naturally occurring nevertheless can be heavily influenced by several factors such as;
• Age
• Environment & life style
• Or disease state.

“According to Dr. Lipton, the true secret to life does not lie within your DNA, but rather within the mechanisms of your cell membrane.”

There are 4 main mechanisms of modification and regulation of gene expression; DNA methylation, Chromatin Remodeling (architecture), Histone Modification and RNAi (interference/interactions)

1. DNA ~ Methylation
This “DNA methylation” is the most widely studied of the modifications employing many roles,

~ There was a small experiment done on DNA~ Methylation and mottled mice ~
There is a gene which accounts for colouration, the Agouti gene, the most interesting of the Agouti genes is the Agouti viable yellow “Avy “
Avy is a low methylated gene and consequently highly active in all cells of the yellow mice, it was determined that these yellow mice were peppered with health issues, But when the Avy gene is made to become hypermethylated it switches off throughout the body, giving a sooty brown colour and with minimal health concerns, Even though same gene is present and switched on. (Blewitt et al, 2006)
Think of Methylation as a chemical modifier of DNA to control gene expression, this will have huge implications in Medical research, allowing us to target and manipulate specific and/or faulty genes ~ letting us treat a disease with a genetic component such as imprint disorders; (Nessa, 2011)
~ I.e. Chromosome 15;
o On the paternal side we get “Prader-Willi syndrome”
o And on the Maternal side we get “Angelman syndrome”
2. ATP - Dependant Chromatin Remodeling
The active modifications in chromatin structure, permitting decondensation and remodeling are integral to act in gene transcription. A fine tuning mechanism involved in the concerted action of modified histones and remodeling chromatin proteins. New research has revealed significant new functions for remodeling, such as histone variant deposition, cohesion functions, and RNA transcript ~ elongation and termination. Remodeling complexes are...

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