In order to know the meaning of the epigenetic term that now concerns us, it is necessary, first, to discover its etymological origin. In this case, we can state that it is a word that derives from Greek, since it is the result of the sum of three lexical components of that language:
-The prefix “epi-”, which can be translated as “over” and “over”.
-The term "genos", which means "to generate", but also "family".
-The suffix "-tico", which is used to indicate "relative to".
He adjective epigenetic It is used in the field of biology to rate that linked to the epigenesis .
The epidemic is a doctrine which maintains that the characteristics of living beings are not pre-established in the fertilized egg, but that they acquire their disposition as the developing .
The idea of epigenetics , in this framework, is linked to the analysis of factors that interact with genes . These are factors that are determined by the ambient and not because of inheritance.
Epigenetics, therefore, refers to various processes and reactions that, without modifying the sequence of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA ), change your activity. These marks are not constituted as genes, although they affect genetics.
It is important to keep in mind that the concept of epigenetics is quite recent and its scope has not yet been defined. In 1942 , the Scottish biologist Conrad Hal Waddington coined the term to refer to the study of the link that is established between the genes and the ambient .
Once he Human Genome Project It was concluded in 2003 , the science He was able to confirm that organisms are not determined by what is written in the genes: there are many factors that affect the functioning of cells, development, the appearance of diseases and aging. Epigenetics, in this framework, seeks to reveal what mechanisms influence the translation of the language contained in the genome.
Other important aspects of epigenetics are the following:
-Allows explaining why two people who have the same genetic mutation do not develop a disease. That is, why one develops it and the other does not.
-Epigenetics has become a very relevant discipline in the field of oncology. And it is that cancer is the result of the combination of what are genetic alterations.
- It is also established that the so-called epigenetic marks, which are reversible, come to exercise as a memory for what the cell is.
-There are the so-called epigenetic mechanisms, among which are DNA methylation, chromatin modifications or interference RNA.
-It is also considered to work as a bridge between what are the different environmental factors and genes. And it is that those can bring about modifications in the so-called epigenome. We are referring to food, tobacco, stress, physical exercise ...