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Author Topic: How does epigenetics impact our DNA inheritance?  (Read 2844 times)

Offline JMLCarter

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How does epigenetics impact our DNA inheritance?
« on: 10/04/2011 23:41:22 »
As I understand there is some kind of binding of methyl groups onto the DNA which can deactivate different segments of it.

Does this deactivate it for life, or just until the cell meiosis?
What causes these methyl groups to attach; is it random?


 

Offline lab monkey

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How does epigenetics impact our DNA inheritance?
« Reply #1 on: 14/04/2011 18:02:24 »
Thats a BIG topic!

Methylation of DNA (especially at certain motifs) isn't random.  There are specific enzymes designed to do it, and others to remove the methyl groups.  This is also just one of the ways of altering transcription or translation of the DNA.

It's also not permanent.  It's a control system.  How it's controlled and how it works in different cells is a huge area of research at the moment.

The key with DNA, especially at the genome level, is that it's got so many levels of control.  Regulators, inhibitors, operators, physical structures, conformational levels and thats still only at the small scale level.  This is why it's taken so much longer to do much of any merit with the human genome sequence.  The more you learn about DNA, the more complicated it gets!
 

Offline JMLCarter

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How does epigenetics impact our DNA inheritance?
« Reply #2 on: 14/04/2011 19:59:42 »
TBH, that is what I expected even 20 years ago.

I guess I'm secretly looking to undermine the public perception of DNA as the sole source of inherited information.

Epigenetics is complex; but I don't need to fully understand it. I just want some-one who knows to tell me if we have yet discovered any mechanism by which epigenetic information can persist from one generation to the next without any of the information being "encoded in" the DNA itself.

I don't feel I've explained that as well as I would have liked.

 

The Naked Scientists Forum

How does epigenetics impact our DNA inheritance?
« Reply #2 on: 14/04/2011 19:59:42 »

 

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