9 Aug 2022


Epigenetics: The Study of Heredity and Gene Expression

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Academic level: College

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Epigenetics pertains to the study and understanding of the concept of gene expressions. Based on this study, the learner understands the various factors that lead to changes in organisms (Van Dijk et al., 2015). According to this concept, changes experienced or witnessed in organisms are mainly caused by the modification and/or alteration of the gene expression. As such, the genetic code, as has been established, does not lead to the changes viewed or experienced in organisms. These changes come into form due to the modification of the gene expression.

Reaction to the Video

Based on the epigenetics video on PBS, it is clear that the gene expression plays a significant role in determining the changes in an individual. This factor has been proven as factual, mainly based on research on identical twins, who were found to be most identical while young, and transform further apart (both in terms of form, behavior, preferences, and taste among others) as they aged. It was also established that the gene expression is mainly influenced by the types of foods or behavioral preferences among identical twins (NOVA ScienceNow, 2007) . Considering that gene expressions determine the color of the skin, its formation, an individual’s preferences, and tastes, it was clear how the cloned mice had varied shapes and expressed certain forms of difference in their color as well. It was also clear that an individual’s choices determine his or her health and that of his or her generations. The cloning of the obese mice resulted in obese offspring.

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It also became clearer why and how identical twins may at times grow to prefer certain preferences and develop varied tastes. The only aspects that remain constant among the studied twins, however, are the factors determined by our genetic codes. These may include the postures, shape of the faces, and how they laugh. In essence, this means that while genetic codes cannot be changed, our gene expressions can be modified; hence resulting in variations between living beings even among twins. It was extremely interesting to learn of some of the factors that contribute to one’s form, structure, and character. It was also interesting to learn that we determine our gene expressions based on the choices we make. Be it in terms of preferences or eating habits, we are capable of establishing a certain direction of who we become based on our abilities to alter our gene expressions through the habits that we develop. Eating, smoking and drinking habits were identified as the main culprits for modifications in our gene expressions.

Discussion of an Epigenetics Article

The article, “ Epigenetics and Human Obesity ” by Van Dijk et al. (2015) mainly centers on the roles played by epigenomes in causing obesity. Generally, the authors examine the causative factors of obesity based on the epigenetics of a given individual. As was established in the article, epigenetics has been linked with the development of complex conditions such as cancer and obesity. Although the chemical modifications effected by alterations to an individual’s epigenetics are possible, the authors argue that prevention of the occurrence of such conditions are best placed at reducing their chances of developing. Considering that a condition such as obesity is considered to be a risk factor for comorbidities, preventing it at early stages would be the best strategy for fighting it. An understanding of the role of inherited epigenetic marks in the formation of such conditions is considered to be essential. A study of the human epigenetics reveals that some of the epigenetic modifications that result in obesity could be reversed by exposure to certain environmental factors and nutritional preferences.

According to Van Dijk et al. (2015), the postnatal and prenatal environments are impactful in the formation of the epigenome. As such, considering the potential of an adverse pre- and postnatal environments in causing obesity, the best intervention mechanism would mainly lie in the nutritional elements that a child is exposed to during these early staged of life. These are considered to be significant in reducing the chances of the development of obesity in the later stages of life. It was also established that weight loss and diet control by a given mother stands a great chance of restricting the epigenomic structuring that would result in obesity (Van Dijk et al., 2015). Based on this journal, it is clear that the steps made towards understanding the role of epigenetics in bringing about obesity have improved the understanding of the biomarkers linked with obesity. The introduction of mechanisms to modify the epigenetics, mainly through lifestyle changes and altering the exposure in utero also raise hope for increased future breakthroughs in this field.

Family History — Dr. Oz

According to my findings upon completing the Dr. Oz Family History form, I established that allergies run in my family. My father, for instance, admitted to having suffered from dust allergic reaction when exposed to dust. This is a similar condition that my paternal uncle suffered from, although it eventually subsided in terms of severity. One of my cousins was recently diagnosed with a very rare condition among young adults known as arcus juvenilis . This condition, as I later established, is closely linked to eye allergic reactions. In the case of severe symptoms, the patient tends excessively rub the eyes to the intensity of itching being experienced. In the long-run, the degeneration of the condition results in the formation of grayish or whitish arcs on the edges of the cornea.

Although the condition has not been linked with other serious eye conditions such as blindness, its development indicates a strong chain of infection within my family or lineage. Based on these factors and further considering the concept of epigenetics in the inheritance of gene expressions that may result in similar conditions, it is accurate to state that I am among the high-risk individuals for such conditions. The presence of the allergic condition closely in my lineage puts me at increased risk, especially in the case I decide to embrace certain lifestyle changes such as exposure to excessive dust.

Vitality Compass Life Expectancy Questionnaire — Discussion of Findings 

From my Vitality Compass Life Expectancy Questionnaire results, my life expectancy and my healthy life expectancy appear to widely vary from my potential life expectancy. This could be mainly because of the lifestyle choices and habits that I have chosen to incorporate in my life. for instance, I like taking fruits, but I do not take enough fruits to ensure an optimized life expectancy rate. The nutritional value of fruits, especially in modifying my epigenetics and ensuring that I lead a healthy life is significant in assisting me to increase my life-expectancy rate. As such, it is a goal that I set today, whereby, I will observe a high level of discipline in both my lifestyle and eating habits.

Considering that it would be important to reconsider some of these choices through which I could increase my life expectancy by 22 years, I choose to pick more healthy options, habits, and lifestyle choices. I would consider applying these finding to my life. Although according to these findings, I appear to be doing quite well, the chance to improve on my life expectancy rate is more appealing. It is thus among my long-term goal to observe healthy lifestyles and habits in order to achieve the highest possible life expectancy.

Discussion: Improving My health and Longevity

In light of Family history and the above questionnaire findings, I believe I can improve my longevity by consuming more healthy foods and partaking in beneficial lifestyle habits. Increasing my exercising hours as well as my intake of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products would be most appealing to my health. Additionally, in light of my family history relating to an allergic reaction to dust, I would do better by avoiding excessive contact with such irritants. My health and longevity are likely to improve when I choose to practice some of these changes in order to initiate the modifications to my epigenetics. These alterations would determine and ensure that I reduce my risks of contracting allergic reactions to dust, thus maintaining the health of my eyes, and further improve my overall health wellbeing.


BlueZones.com. (2017). True Vitality Test. Retrieved from BlueZones: https://apps.bluezones.com/en/vitality/results/46698 

NOVA ScienceNow. (2007). Epigenetics . Retrieved from PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/epigenetics.html 

Van Dijk, S. J., Molloy, P. L., Varinli , H., Morrison, J. L., Muhlhausler, B. S., Buckley, M., ... & Tellam, R. L. (2015). Epigenetics and human obesity. International Journal of Obesity , 39 (1), 85-97.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Epigenetics: The Study of Heredity and Gene Expression.


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