Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Epigenetics again

As I very briefly mentioned today epigenetics is a very exciting and new area of biology. About a year ago this topic was so hot and sexy it hot the cover of Time magazine. The article, Why Your DNA Isn't Your Destiny, is really rather good. I'm personally always interested in how journalists try to tell science stories.

All this explains why the scientific community is so nervously excited about epigenetics. In his forthcoming book The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent and IQ Is Wrong, science writer David Shenk says epigenetics is helping usher in a "new paradigm" that "reveals how bankrupt the phrase 'nature versus nurture' really is." He calls epigenetics "perhaps the most important discovery in the science of heredity since the gene." 

I think the coming years will make it clearer to what extent epigenetics is really going to revolutionize our thinking about heredity or whether it is going to become a collection of rather unusual, but not typical, processes.

Here's a previous post on epigenetics that links to some primary research, some of it carried out here at UCSB in David Low's lab. David is affiliated with CCS and  has had very positive interactions with CCS students in his lab so there's definitely one possibility for research if this area of research interests you.

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