Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Epigenitics: New insights into Nature vs Nurture

I vaguely knew about epigenetics but ran across this explanation on a blog I read occasionally.  The author embedded two Nova videos (me too...below) that give some insight into what is meant by an epigenome.  Each of our thousands of genes needs instructions on how to do what they do.  The epigenomes give our genes instructions. Doctor Jirtle in the video says “the epigenome would be like the software that tells the computer when to work, how to work and how much.”  It is believed that epigenomes are strongly influenced by diet and lifestyle.  So, what you eat and how you live can not only effect your health but possibly that of your children and grandchildren.  Fascinating stuff.

I did a little more digging and found this Nova website that compliments the videos.   There is an extended interview with Dr. Jirtle, a slide show about the mice shown in the film and some other materials including a teacher's guide. 

Part 1: Epigenetics 

Part 2: Epigenetics

[Image captured from the slide show off the Nova Site:]

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