What role does DNA play in determining who you become? Epigenetics – the study of how cellular information activates and deactivates genes – aims to answer this question and more.
Pim Suwannarat, MD, a geneticist for Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, recently penned an article on the topic that was published in U.S. News & World Report. The piece explains how epigenetics works and its potential application in areas such as therapies that target specific types of tumors and other genetic illnesses.
In the article, “Is Your DNA Your Destiny? A Primer in Epigenetics,” Dr. Suwannarat writes about how scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute are attempting to map the human epigenome, which encompasses the chemical compounds and proteins that attach to DNA and guide genes in how to act. According to Dr. Suwannarat, it’s possible that the evolution of this process may allow us to one day have a degree of control over our own genetic predispositions.
While the study of epigenetics may hold several keys for living a healthier life, Dr. Suwannarat notes that environmental factors such as smoking, disease, and stress can also trigger gene responses. With that in mind, she recommends continuing to pursue the lifestyle choices that promote good long-term health – for example, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and finding ways to lower stress.
To read the full article, go to the U.S. News & World Report website.