Epigenetics

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Epigenetics

Postby Dan » Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:29 pm

Hi all,

I've always been skeptical about rosacea being directly related to genetic predisposition, even though there have been some studies suggesting a genetic link:

Rosacea News: Genetic Marker for Rosacea

Last night however, I watched an extremely interesting episode of the NOVA series called "Ghost in Your Genes" (it was aired earlier in the week on my local PBS station), and it seemed to make sense of things a bit for me, and although I certainly don't understand this area all that well, I thought I'd share what I picked up by watching the show and doing a little googling.

First, the following slide shows from the PBS site explain epigenetics and how the epigenome interacts with our genes in a very easy to understand way (note there are 5 separate slide shows that will load from this link automatically, one after another). I think the computer analogy the presenter uses, that the epigenome is the software that directs the genomic hardware of the computer makes much sense when thinking about the epigenome and its interaction with our genetic code:

NOVA: A Tale of Two Mice

BTW, I think I'm in love with the Agouti Twins, particularly the curvy, blond one. But I digress... ;)


Here's another great video on the PBS site:

NOVA: Epigenetics


The following article is another great resource for information on recent discoveries in epigenetics, and its discussion about illnesses that have been associated with epigenetic processes and known or suspected drivers of epigenetic changes is very interesting:

"Today, a wide variety of illnesses, behaviors, and other health indicators already have some level of evidence linking them with epigenetic mechanisms, including cancers of almost all types, cognitive dysfunction, and respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, autoimmune, and neurobehavioral illnesses. Known or suspected drivers behind epigenetic processes include many agents, including heavy metals, pesticides, diesel exhaust, tobacco smoke, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, hormones, radioactivity, viruses, bacteria, and basic nutrients."

Environmental Health Perspectives:Epigenetics: The Science Of Change


So, this was a bit of an "ah ha" moment for me. When I was in school back in prehistoric times, when we discussed genetics, our genes were inherited and pretty much static. Since I wasn't born with rosacea, I was skeptical of the genetic component. Now that researchers are discovering epigenetic processes that can influence our genes, it sort of ties this all together for me. Perhaps I need to start thinking of genetics as something that is more fluid and very much influenced by environmental factors. The comparison of the genes of the identical twin women showing very little overlap later in life (as compared to near complete overlap early in life) in the "Epigenetics" video above is very convincing...

Perhaps also it is all the inflammation associated with some injury (perhaps a persistent infection, perhaps even repeated sun damage) that may cause epigenetic changes to our genetic code, leading researchers to find these genetic changes that are associated with rosacea?

More info about the PBS Nova shows on Epigenetics (and more video content) can be found from the following:

NOVA: Ghost in Your Genes
NOVA: Epigenetics


If you get a chance to watch the full shows, particularly "Ghost in Your Genes", you might really find them fascinating. I did, but you know me...:ugeek:
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Re: Epigenetics

Postby Quiller » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:07 am

Dan, I also find epigenetics endlessly fascinating. Bruce Lipton's been waving it around forever, trying to get everyone's attention.

I've always hated genetic determinism; it's very counterintuitive. Epigenetics explains how the organism is in constant interaction with the environment, turning genes on or off. This makes much more sense.

I've honestly thought about finding a way to study epigenetics in a postgrad environment.
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Re: Epigenetics

Postby Dan » Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:55 pm

Thanks for the links Quiller. I may have to go pick up a couple of Lipton's books. They look really interesting...

Quiller wrote:I've always hated genetic determinism; it's very counterintuitive. Epigenetics explains how the organism is in constant interaction with the environment, turning genes on or off. This makes much more sense.


It really does make much more sense to me too, and I like the way it seems to help tie one more aspect of rosacea (and other diseases of course) - the genetic influence - to the bigger picture of the underlying disease pathology.

Just doing some googling too, although I couldn't find anything directly related to rosacea and epigenetics, it appears researchers are circling this disease with several studies in some aspects of the underlying pathology of rosacea or other inflammatory skin diseases, including this one from our old friend Dr Gallo:

Histone Acetylation in Keratinocytes Enables Control of the Expression of Cathelicidin and CD14 by 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3).

I would love to study this area further too. Keep us posted if you run across anything interesting in this area...

Thanks again...
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Re: Epigenetics

Postby David Pascoe » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:38 am

A lot of coverage this week for a significant research paper on rosacea and the possible genetic link.

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