As transferred to future progeny. Specific patterns of gene

As science
progresses into the future new impeding advances emerge which will cause every
area of science including molecular and genetic biology to become more
cutting-edge. Epigenetics, where the prefix epi-, means “upon”, tells us that
something is happening upon the genetic code of any respective organism being
studied. Epigenetics specifically studies the changes in gene activity which do
not result in the changing of gene sequences but however change the way genes
are expressed which are heritable and likely are transferred to future progeny.
Specific patterns of gene expression are regulated by specific cellular
chemicals and mechanistic processes. These primarily include DNA methylation
and histone modification. DNA methylation is a naturally occurring process
carried out by the enzyme DNA methylase, which add methyl groups to specific
cytosine nucleotides in specific genes. The action of DNA methylase causes
certain genes to be regulated by switching them “on” or “off” and at what
strength the genes are expressed. Histone modification on the other hand does
not affect DNA expression but does affect the stage in which DNA is packaged
and coiled around. Histone allow for DNA to be coiled around it therefore
providing a primary level of organization. Histones can be modified and include
phosphorylation, methylation and acetylation. The combination of histone
modification yields a specifc mechanism in which DNA will be transcribed or
not. Now that epigenetics is well understood, scientists have been developing
new experimental techniques which can be used to acquire new information of any
organisms’ genome and how they are affected by the environment around them

            A recent break through that is very
important to epigenetic technology is bisulfite methylation sequencing. The
point of this experiment is to detect specific methylation sites on specific
sequences of DNA. Denatured DNA is first created and treated with bisulfite
which serves the purpose of converting cytosine to uracil. Although methylated
cytosine nucleotides are not converted. After PCR amplification is performed on
bisulfite treated DNA the cytosine that was not methylated are recognized as
thymine and the methylated cytosine remains cytosine. This new process allows
researchers to determine specific methylation patterns in specific DNA
sequences or organism which can give information to possible phenotypes that
may or may not arise due to epigenetic processes.

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            Although it may take a lot more time
to determine epigenetic influences on certain human diseases such as tendency
to be addicted to a substance such as alcohol, analgesics, or opioids, the
knowledge and experimental technique in epigenetics is rapidly increasing. Soon
in the near future practical clinical application of epigenetic derived
practices developed in lab can be used in the area of medicine to better the
lives of those suffering the negative consequences of epigenetics mechanisms
which take place in certain individuals. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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