As we learnt earlier, our epigenome is the conductor of the mammoth orchestra that our DNA represents. Making and running our bodies is a highly complex, dynamic process, and our epigenome plays a key part in it, by “marking” certain genes in our DNA thereby triggering our cells to do what our DNA instructs. One of the best studied of these “marks” is a modification called methylation.
However, nutrition, our lifestyles and environmental factors can alter and damage our epigenome, leading to diseases such as cancers as well as meddle with our immune response. Understanding these changes that can transform a normal cell into a cancerous one is helping medical research along the path to diagnosis or even prevention of cancer. In the future, epigenomic maps will help deliver much more precise medicine and therapies tailored to each individual body and history.
Epigenetic modifications are also inherited, and DNA methylation (one of the most abundant modifications) is now recognized as a reliable indicator of biological age (not your chronological age). If you want to know more about your biological age and track changes in your epigenome then head to myDNAge for a test.