Epigentics: sorting out the hype from the substance

We haven’t written much about epigenetics for a while, in part because it’s so trendy that it’s impossible to know what much of it means or how it’s all going to shake out, and in part because there are so many different interpretations of the word that it’s hard to know whether everyone’s talking about the same thing.  Tools to detect epigenetic changes in the genome, that is, specific locations that have been chemically modified in ways that affect nearby gene transcription, are now available.  Still, it is clearly a fad in the sense that once tools are there the scientific community seizes them in a bandwagon effect, showing up in study designs and grant applications and so on, in ways that can exceed the reality.  Everybody now simply ‘has’ to do an epigenetic analysis on their favorite project.  And partly for this reason, not everyone else accepts that epigenetics will prove in the long run to be a significant actor in development and disease.

Read the full, original story: Epigenetics: the burden of proof vs the folly of dismissal

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