Disease & Health

Epigenetics may be involved in human diseases and health in many different ways. First, there are a small number of rare diseases that are considered epigenetic diseases, most of these involve mutations in genes for enzymes and proteins involved in making epigenetic modifications. Rett syndrome is one example in which people are born without a protein that is vital for the process of methylation that allows cells to shut off genes. Epigenetics may also play an active role in the development and the treatment of cancer, as the disease is characterized by ‘out of control cell division caused by mutations. Many researchers believe they can correct the behavior of these cells by altering the activity of these mutated genes. Drugs already exist on the market that does this, and the epigenetic drug market is expected to boom in the coming years driven mostly by new cancer drugs. There is emerging evidence that epigenetics may also play a vital role in treating diseases that don’t necessarily have etiologies rooted in gene regulation. Drugs that target gene activity as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic conditions, and autoimmune conditions may all soon be available.

Understanding Epigenetics:
Disease & Health
Check out these stories for more context on epigenetics and agriculture
Epigenetics: Core misconcept
Mark Ptashne | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The emerging role of epigenetics in autoimmune thyroid diseases
April 26, 2017 | Bin Wang | Frontiers in immunology
Obesity and menopause modify the epigenomic profile of breast cancer
April 26, 2017 | Ana Crujeiras | Endocrine Related Cancer
Untangling the genetics from the epigenetics in pancreatic cancer metastasis
April 20, 2017 | Christopher R Vakoc, David A Tuveson | Nature Genetics
DNA methylation profiling in peripheral lung tissues of smokers and patients with COPD
April 19, 2017 | Isaac K. Sundar | Clinical Epigenetics
Viral gene products actively promote latent infection by epigenetic silencing mechanisms
April 19, 2017 | David M Knipe, Priya Raja, Jennifer Lee | Current Opinion in Virology
Epigenetics and allergy: From basic mechanisms to clinical applications
April 13, 2017 | Daniel Potaczek, Hani Harb | Epigenomics
Epigenetics and the evolution of instincts
April 13, 2017 | Gene Robinson, Andrew Barron | Science
Chemical signaling between gut microbiota and host chromatin: What is your gut really saying?
April 12, 2017 | Kimberly Krautkramer, Federico E. Rey, John D. Denu | Journal of Biological Chemistry