What is epigenetics? #2

Here is a quote from a paper published in 1990 (over 25 years ago!!!) by a H. F. Nijhout in an article entitled Metaphors and the Role of Genes in Development published in BioEssays:

“When a gene product is needed,
a signal from its environment,
not an emergent property of the gene itself,
activates expression of that gene.”

A gene “product” mentioned in line 1 above represents a protein.
In line 2 it states that the “signals arise from the environment.”
In line 3, the emphasis is that genes do not self-actualize, that is they do NOT control their own activity.
This statement defines what is meant by the science of epigenetics: it includes the molecular mechanisms by which genes are activated by environmental signals. Since the 1990s, we now know that epigenetic signals can also modulate the amount of activity a gene will express as well as the exact nature of the protein created from a gene (as mentioned, through epigenetic mechanisms a given gene can be used to create over 2000 different protein products!)


One thought on “What is epigenetics? #2

  1. wouldn’t you love to be around in 80 years to see what Major role epigenetics will play in common health care? There’s a lot of Momentum to stop that still takes us the way of 1940 thought. thanks for posting and inspiring some folks that are just now hearing about it. way to keep the NEW Momentum going!

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