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Epigenetics presentation Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Epigenetics By Abby Johnson, Angel Vaughn, and Daniele Marcato
  • 2. What is Epigenetics?
      • The study of changes in gene activity that do not have to do with changes in actual DNA
        • Abnormal traits that (as far as we know) are not necessarily determined in our genes or have no specific gene but are passed down through at least one generation
      • Often relating to Nature v.s. Nurture
  • 3. What is an Epigenome?
      • A large aspect of Epigenetics
        • A "switch" that sits on and just outside of a regular genome
          • is responsible for the inheritance of traits caused by environment
      • The codes on Epigenomes tell genes whether to turn on or off
      • Epigenomes determine small things
        • Whether we whisper or talk loudly
      • Or more important things
        • Immunity to disease
        • Obesity
        • Memory
  • 4. What is an Epigenome?
      • Although the Epigenome can greatly affect normal genomes, it is not evolution or DNA
      • It only adjusts genes, it does not get rid of them or add new ones
      • Just a response to enviornment and fades after a certain number of generations (But generations can be from 1-60+)
  • 5. Effects of Epigenomes
      • They are affected by certain life style choices
        • Smoking
        • Eating habits
      • When they are changed, they can cause certain genes to turn on or be stronger or can cause genes to become weaker or turn off
        • Eating to much might cause genes for obesity to become stronger while turning genes that control life expectancy down
  • 6. Experiment
      • Dr. Lars Olov Bygren conducted an experiment where he collected data from kids born in 1905 who grew up in Norrbotten, Sweden
        • Small farming village
          • So small that if harvest was bad people starved
        • Harvest was different year to year (to much--too little)
      • Bygren collected data on these kids, their children, and grandchildren to see what affect this eating pattern would have on them
  • 7. Experiment
      • Bygren found that kids who had extreme eating habits had kids and grandchildren who lived shorter lives
        • These kids died an average of 32 years before children who had not experienced this diet
      • A separate Experiment where 14,024 pregnant women from the same area were recruited by ALSPC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children)
      • The children and parents have been analyzed since
        • Found that specific enviorment conditions in pregnancy and durring infancy affect children
          •   Peanut baby oil--peanut allergies
          •   High anxiety durring pregnancy--baby gets asthma
          • Children kept extremely clean--higher risk of eczema
  • 8. Experiment
      • The experiment also found that 166 fathers in the study had started smoking before age 11 (right before the body goes through puberty)
        • Sperm could have been effected by epigenomes, changed by the early smoking
      • Sons of the 166 fathers on average had a higher BMI than other children
  • 9. Medical Advantages
      • Scientist are further researching Epigenetics because, if they are able to be controlled, it would be helpful in the medical world
        • Trying to develop medicine that is able to turn off a negative epigenome and turn on a positive one
          • 2004--the first epigenetic drug was approved
            • Azacitidine 
            • Treats deadly blood tumors/cancers etc.
            • Life expectancy is expanded by 9 months+
      • Scientists are trying to develop other medicines that manipulate epigenomes for Cancer, Schizophrenia, Autism, Alzheimers, Diabetes, etc.
  • 10. Acknowledgments
      • http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1951968-4,00.html
      •   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3411/02.html