EPIGENETICS: SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS


An answer to the question: "Why are some genes expressed and not others?" the  Epigenetics module on Learn.Genetics  explores some of the mechanisms responsible for the differential expression of genes, and how environmental factors influence those mechanisms.

Assessment questions for online activities are provided for use in generating discussion, creating worksheets, tests and quizzes, and providing fuel for thought.  See the  National Science Standards  that this module addresses.

WHAT IS EPIGENETICS ?

The development and maintenance of an organism is orchestrated by a set of chemical reactions that switch parts of the genome off and on at strategic times and locations. Epigenetics is the study of these reactions and the factors that influence them.

THE EPIGENOME AT A GLANCE

An animated introduction to the epigenome and how it instructs DNA.

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GENE CONTROL

Change the level of gene expression in a cell with a turn of the dial!

A close look at the action of epigenetic molecules on the structure of DNA, and the resulting mRNA transcripts as the level of expression changes for the GFP gene in a glowing cell.

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DNA & HISTONE MODEL

A 3-D cut-and-paste model depicting how histone, acetyl and methyl molecules control access to DNA and affect gene expression.

Preview       Download Print-and Go (PDF) Histone Model

Video instructions for this activity

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Learning Objectives

THE EPIGENOME LEARNS FROM ITS EXPERIENCES

Epigenetic tags record the gene-regulating signals the cell receives.

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EPIGENETICS & INHERITANCE

Parents have a role in shaping the epigenome.

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FUNDING

Funding for this project was provided by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health.

SEPA

EPIGENETICS & THE ENVIRONMENT

The genome dynamically interacts with the environment as chemical switches that regulate gene expression receive cues from stress, diet, behavior, toxins and other factors.

IDENTICAL TWINS: PINPOINTING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON THE EPIGENOME

Why do the physical characteristics of identical twins diverge as they age?

Follow the interaction of the environment and the genome in a pair of twins over time and learn how twins can help identify genetic traits.

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YOUR ENVIRONMENT, YOUR EPIGENOME

Using a checklist, students record some of the epigenome-influencing factors present in their environments.

Preview       Download Print-and Go (PDF) Your Environment Your Epigenome

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LICK YOUR RATS

What kind of mother are you? Care for a rat pup and see how you shape its epigenome.

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NUTRITION & THE EPIGENOME

What you eat can change your gene expression.

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EPIGENETICS & THE HUMAN BRAIN

Epigenetic tags interact with genes that affect behavior.

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SCIENTIST TALK

The Epigenome As an Interface Between the Social Environment
and Our Genome


Moshe Szyf Ph.D.
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics,
McGill University, Montreal Canada



Given in the Summer of 2008 during the Beyond the Central Dogma Summer Institute at the Genetic Science Learning Center