Monday, July 4, 2011

Epigenetics versus Genetic Modification

The question I posed at the end of the last post was answered by some members of Blog Catalog, a social online network. It appears that many of my readers are not familiar with Epigenetics and some are confusing Epigenetics with genetics or genetic modification. So this article is to clarify the difference between Epigenetics and Genetics. Let's see what one of the experts say, shall we?

"The difference between Genetics and Epigenetics is compared to the difference between writing and reading a book. Once a book is written, the text (DNA, genes) is stored and the information will be the same in all copies. However, each individual reader (epigenetics) of the given book may interpret the book differently." Thomas Jenvwein, Austria

 Genetic Modification uses biotechnology to change the genes of an organism such as a plant or animal.
Genetic Modified Organism is a plant or animal that has been changed using genetic modification and not through traditional breeding techniques.CSIRO

"The field of Epigenetics has emerged to bridge the  gap between Nature and Nurture."
                                                    Canadian Conf. on Epigenetics,2011 

So in conclusion for this article, let's re-cap the definition of Epigenetics - It is the study of the changes produced in the gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence of the silenced genes. (
 So what are the non-genetic factors that cause the organism's genes to behave (express) differently?
Stay tuned for the next post for the answers. 

PC Nicholas