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Epigenetics

When thinking about genetics, we typically begin with our personal DNA sequence and how it dictates our traits, such as height, blood type, and predisposition to disease. Our understanding of how DNA sequences are inherited began with Mendel and has progressed through countless studies. We now know why and how many human phenotypes occur. However, the sequence of nucleotides in your DNA is not the only aspect of DNA that dictates traits. The field of epigenetics explores how the three dimensional structure of DNA, related to its packaging and storage within the nucleus, modifies gene expression. Interestingly, we’ve learned environmental factors like diet and pollution can affect epigenetics by changing the chemical tags that are added to DNA. Epigenetics is a rapidly growing field, and new connections with medicine are constantly being discovered. Find out about the basic principles of epigenetic markers and how they contribute to your genetic profile by watching the video lesson below: