|Image credit: Freeimages / Rainer Berg|
In complete contradiction to evolutionary predictions, the language systems in the genome continue to reveal nothing but unimaginable complexity. As a news story on a recent discovery explains, "The world of epigenetics—where molecular 'switches' attached to DNA turn genes on and off—has just got bigger with the discovery by a team of scientists from the University of Cambridge of a new type of epigenetic modification."To read the rest, switch over to "Epigenetic Code More Complicated Than Previously Thought".
One of the most exciting and rapidly expanding research fields in the study of the genome is the area of epigenetics. The term epigenetics is derived from the Greek prefix epi which means "on top of." In other words, this is an additional type of genomic language that overlays the DNA code which helps to control how genes are switched on or off. Epigenetics is one explanation for how our environment and behavioral traits, such as diet or smoking, can affect our genome and how many of these changes can even be heritable—affecting traits literally passed along to our children and grandchildren.