The arrangement of the letters in your DNA sequence is not the only thing that shapes you—there’s also the mechanisms that decide what genes get turned on or off, and when. Recently, a massive consortium of scientists released the first map of these genetic switches, which are collectively called the “epigenome.”
But just what do we mean when we talk about the epigenome? In this clip from the 2013 World Science Festival program “Destiny and DNA,” researchers Jean-Pierre Issa and Frances Champagne explain epigenetics and discuss how a collection of molecular tags allows one DNA sequence to create the more than 200 distinct tissues that make up the human body.
By: Roxanne Palmer
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