Epigenetics and global health

Epigenetics and global health

Learning outcomes

At the end of this case study, you should be able to:

Explain the key concepts behind epigenetics including what epigenetics is, types of epigenetic modifications, the importance of epigenetics and how it can be related to disease;
Explain how epigenetics could potentially influence decisions relating to global health;
Discuss how diet and nutrition can have an impact on health and disease through epigenetics;
Critically analyse and evaluate resources given which are related to the field of epigenetics;
Develop well-structured and logical arguments relevant to the field of epigenetics and the social, ethical, legal and economic issues (where appropriate) which arise from the case study.


What is epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms distinct from the underlying DNA sequence i.e. it is caused my modifications to the genome that do not involve a change to the nucleotide sequence. This is most commonly achieved through DNA methylation although histone modifications such as acetylation, methylation and phosphorylation also play a role.