How Early Life Events Can Alter Genes
WHAT IS EPIGENETICS?
Epigenetics is an emerging area of scientific research that shows us how various influences affect the expression of our genes. At the heart of every cell in our body sits DNA which stores codes or information as chemicals, known as the epigenome (1,5).
During development, our unique epigenetic signaturecan determine how genes are expressed(5).The mechanism used by cells to control gene expression vital to embryo development is called DNA methylation. These signals can turn genes on or off. Researchers have linked abnormal DNA methylation to some diseases (7,8).
Our baby’s epigenome can be affected positively or negatively throughout pregnancy andmay determine their susceptibility to heart disease, obesity and cancer (15,5).Epigenetics also plays a major role in developing metabolism, brain architecture and even the behaviour of our offspring (13).