The study of how genes can be switched on and off (a.k.a. gene expression) by environment factors, lifestyle choices, and behaviors. 

The study of Epigenetics has shed light on topics such as why the nutrients we consume can:

  • Why lifestyle choices affect our risks for different illnesses

  • Why your experiences leave marks on your DNA (and your kids DNA too)

  • Why the nutrients we consume can

    • active or silence potentially disease causing genes

    • impact the genes of the developing fetus and his or her offspring

    • affect production of neurochemicals that increase the growth of brain connections

    • increase or decrease inflammation



“Epigenetics can potentially revolutionize our understanding of the structure and behavior of biological life on Earth. It explains why mapping an organism's genetic code is not enough to determine how it develops or acts and shows how nurture combines with nature to engineer biological diversity. Surveying the twenty-year history of the field while also highlighting its latest findings and innovations, this volume provides a readily understandable introduction to the foundations of epigenetics.

Nessa Carey, a leading epigenetics researcher, connects the field's arguments to such diverse phenomena as how ants and queen bees control their colonies; why tortoiseshell cats are always female; why some plants need cold weather before they can flower; and how our bodies age and develop disease. Reaching beyond biology, epigenetics now informs work on drug addiction, the long-term effects of famine, and the physical and psychological consequences of childhood trauma. Carey concludes with a discussion of the future directions for this research and its ability to improve human health and well-being.”


Episode: "Epigenetics and Lifestyle Medicine - In this episode of The Health Edge Mark and John explore the importance of epigenetics and how many aspects of lifestyle are known to alter gene expression. It’s a powerful transformation of our understanding of how our genes are influenced by our environment."

Former Princton Univeristy President and Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs Shirley Tilghman, recently presented "The Wild and Wacky World of Epigenetics" as part of the weekly Science on Saturday lecture series a the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab - click here to watch this fascinating lecture. 

"Traces of the Past - Your Experiences Leave Marks on Your DNA (and on Your Kids’ DNA Too)" - Check out this interesting article on the topic of Epigenetics in Genome Magazine.