Understanding genetics is difficult enough, but now comes new information about gene copies that get switched off leading to vulnerabilities and unanticipated pathways in development.
This AP article describes a paper regarding “silenced” genes and raises many questions about how the environment might turn on and off copies of genes. Here is the introduction:
Duke scientists map ‘silenced genes’
By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer Fri Nov 30, 6:49 AM ET
WASHINGTON – Remember biology class where you learned that children inherit one copy of a gene from mom and a second from dad? There’s a twist: Some of those genes arrive switched off, so there is no backup if the other copy goes bad, making you more vulnerable to disorders from obesity to cancer. if(window.yzq_d==null)window.yzq_d=new Object(); window.yzq_d[‘o.OVcULEYrE-‘]=’&U=13brmd2ke%2fN%3do.OVcULEYrE-%2fC%3d629244.11793224.12324303.1442997%2fD%3dLREC%2fB%3d5063146’;
scientists now have identified these “silenced genes,” creating the first map of this unique group of about 200 genes believed to play a profound role in people’s health.
More intriguing, the work marks an important step in studying how our environment — food, stress, pollution — interacts with genes to help determine why some people get sick and others do not.