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Infectious disease meets the epigenome

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The study of epigenetics (see Pharyngula’s excellent article) has allowed us to see biology and genetics through new eyes. The fact that heritable traits can be encoded in not only the nucleic acid sequences of As, Cs, Ts and Gs but also in the physical conformation of chromosomes and chemical modification of DNA has added a new level of complexity to our understanding of life. Covalent modifications to both DNA and associated histones and chromatin can result in the formation of active or repressed genetic regions; transcription of these genes found in that area is thus activated or repressed. Embryonic development, behaviour and cancer formation¬† have all been impacted by the discovery of this new genetic system wit deregulated epigentic processes leading to the development of these diseases – but what about in infection, immunity and pathogenesis of associated diseases?

Epigenetics: DNA, histones, ovalent modification and chromatin.

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Written by Connor

January 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm