Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Epigenetics - #1

Lately I've had multiple requests for more information on epigenetics or cellular memory as it is often referred to. Accordingly, I will provide some of the research data of which I am aware during this week's blog. I will also include URLs for those who want to read the article themselves. Enjoy. Some of it is pretty mind boggling! The term Epigenetics means outside conventional genetics. It was coined by the developmental biologist Conrad H. Waddington (1905 – 1975). Waddington treated Drosophilia pupa with heat and observed altered wing-vein patterns. This altered phenotype persisted in the population long after the stimulus (heat) was removed, suggesting that exposure to an environmental factor during a critical developmental window could produce a phentotype-change that could last for a lifetime and that could be manifested in subsequent generations. He referred to this phenomenon as “Genetic Assimilation” or “Epigenetics” in modern terminology. It provides a framework to explain the source of variations in individual organisms and also explains what makes cells, tissue, and organs different albeit the identical nature of the genetic information in every cell in the body. (Page 174)

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