“Epigenetics” refers to stable chemical modification of DNA resulting in changes to its function and/or regulation, without altering its primary sequence. In some cases, epigenetic modifications are stable and passed on to future generations, but in other instances they are dynamic and change in response to environmental stimuli. Nearly every aspect of biology is influenced by epigenetics, making it one of the most important fields in science.
Why do some foods cause health problems while others keep us healthy? How does stress impact our long-term well-being? Why is it that the older we get, the more likely it is that age-related illness will strike us? Unlocking the secrets behind these and other questions has the potential to revolutionize life as we know it. The rapidly growing field of epigenetics is aiming to do just that. The importance of nature versus nurture has long been disputed. It cannot be denied that environment greatly influences how a child grows and develops, nor can it be denied that our DNA is the blueprint that makes us who we are. Epigenetics merges these two seemingly contradictory lines of thought to explain how environmental factors cause physical modifications to DNA and its associated structures, which result in altered functions.
Epigenetic modifications refer to heritable changes in the genome that occur independently of changes to the primary DNA sequence. Epigenetics plays crucial biological roles in processes as diverse as development, learning, metabolism, and in the progression of diseases such as cancer. DNA methylation, the most abundant and best studied epigenetic modification, is now recognized as a reliable indicator of biological age1-5. Dr. Steve Horvath’s epigenetic aging clock, the golden standard of aging clocks, was built using data generated from thousands of samples. His analytical method has been cited in over 600 peer reviewed scientific publications. The My DNA Age Epigenetic Aging Clock service is based on Steve Horvath’s aging clock and utilizes SWARM™ (Simplified Whole-panel Amplification Reaction Method) technology to analyze DNA methylation patterns of >500 genetic loci and provide epigenetic age predictions in a high throughput manner.