Now I am dating myself back to the olden days….so what does ticker-tape machines have to do with epigenetics?
Epigenetic mechanisms change the readout of genes but do not change the original genetic code. A gene is a blueprint to make a body part, a protein. Epigenetics is the science of how environmental information can rewrite the gene’s blueprint. Imagine this sentence is printed on a long continuous narrow strip of paper. In the old, old, days there was a device called a ticker-tape machine. A message was printed one letter at a time on a single linear paper “tape.” Now consider printing this entire paragraph as one long line on a paper tape. With tape and scissors, you could cut and paste the same words into totally different sentences, each with its own meaning.
A gene is a linear molecule with an inscribed sequence of coded letters just like a message on a ticker tape. Epigenetics can cut a gene blueprint into pieces and rearrange the letters. Point, through epigenetics, one can create thousands of different proteins from the same gene “blueprint” by cutting and pasting. In fact ~90% of cancer is not associated with heredity, but with normal genes being rewritten by environmental information. In the field of Behavioral Epigenetics, the thoughts and programs in the mind are translated by the brain into chemical signals that complement the mind’s vision.