Curiosity

5 Notable Discoveries in Epigenetics Research

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by: Elizabeth Sprouse
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There's still so much we don't know about how much environment and genetics affects health such as genetic illnesses.
©iStockphoto.com/dra_schwartz

What if your decision today to smoke a cigarette or eat another bag of chips didn't just affect your health, but also your kids' health? Take that a step further. What if your lifestyle choices affected their children's health -- and then the next generation and even the next? As it turns out, there may be much more to our everyday choices than we realize.

The traditional view of DNA is that it expresses itself through our genes to help us survive, reproduce and develop, and that it's set in stone, meaning that this behavior is also set in stone for our offspring. Now, though, it appears that environmental conditions, such as stress, nutrition and the environment, can have a hand in how our DNA behaves and how it behaves in our children -- even if they haven't yet been conceived.

All of this relates to a relatively new science called epigenetics. We'll look at five notable discoveries linked to epigenetics and what they mean to our health. Read on to learn about the epigenome -- DNA's boss.

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