The Mystery of Epigenetics

biology, science
epigenetics
mystery of epigenetics (Click here for original source image)

Mystery of Epigenetics there’s more to genes than just DNA. For a long time since the beginning of recorded human history there has been an enigma about genes and their function that perplex scientists to this day. How can one person have one set of cells while another is completely different? The answer is the molecular basis for how each of these sets of cells work, and here it is explained in simple language.

All living cells employ a genetic mechanism that controls the development and fate of individual cells. Each set of cells has their own controller, or promoter, and certain cells are genetically programmed to behave a certain way. If you want to know how something works, you have to understand the genetic control mechanism, and methyl DNA (mRNA) is the cytoskeleton in each cell. When this chemical mark is turned on (methyl) by the proper regulatory gene expression signal, a specific cell will grow and reproduce.

However, it is not enough that the promoters are turned on. You also need to regulate the transcription factors that control the actual production of genes. In fact, there are billions of transcription factors between them all that determine just how much of the billions of genes get produced. This is what makes the production of new cells so incredibly precise. It is this control that researchers have been seeking the most efficient explanation for how the body functions.

In order to understand how this works, it is necessary to realize that there are two forms of regulation that control the number of genes: differential and convergent. The first form of regulation produces fewer genes as the gene that gets switched on is already gone, while the second one continues to produce more. We only need to look at the way that methyl molecules change as part of the evolution of the human body. The methyl molecules created by the replication process in our testes can change into three different forms, which we know to be S-amino, S-cysteine, and N-methyl-o-Acetyl-H-quinones. What this means is that there are a hundred thousand different possible methyl molecules that can get activated in the course of our lives, all of which effect the production and activity of millions of different cells.

As you can see, there is a lot going on under the hood when looking at the more to genes than simply the methyl pathways. But just because there are a lot of things going on doesn’t mean that they are simple. For example, a methyl molecule that gets turned on and off can activate millions of different cells simultaneously. This makes it incredibly difficult to regulate the transcription levels and overall activity of the cells.

As an example, researchers have found that mice with a particular gene that causes them to grow hair excessively can actually be trained to stop this behavior if they are placed in stressful situations. But by artificially creating a stressful situation for the animals, scientists were able to introduce the correct conditions. In essence, the mice learned how to stop growing their hair by being stressed out, thus avoiding the traumatic experience. Although this method has been tested on lab mice, it is unknown whether the same will hold true for humans.

There is also the interesting scenario of obesity. Although many people associate obesity with poor nutrition and too much body fat, it could also be a result of the body’s inability to properly use and remove fat. Epigenetics may hold the answer here. By regulating genes directly, scientists could gain a better understanding of how the body works, allowing them to more easily find solutions to diseases and ailments. It may even help figure out how to lose weight permanently.

Although the mystery of epigenetics holds more to answers than just how genes affect us, one thing is for sure. Anybody who is interested in learning more about their future looks forward to figuring out more about how nature and nurture interact and what role they play in it. Whether it’s helping you recover from a traumatic experience or simply stopping the growth of your hair, discovering the secrets of DNA may just be the next big step for medical science.

Provided by Antonio Westley


Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.

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