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Epigenetics - Why DNA Is Not Your Destiny

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How a complex web of chemical changes can have profound effects on gene expression and life itself

Our DNA genome is necessary but not sufficient for complex life. It’s overlaid and augmented by a complex web of chemical changes, that have profound effects on gene expression and life itself. This is the field of epigenetics, which is transforming our understanding of situations ranging from human cancers to crocodile gender; from the long-lasting effects of childhood trauma to the development of barley crops; from tortoiseshell cats to why humans don’t develop teeth in their eyeballs. Most controversially, even the inheritance of acquired characteristics (Lamarckism) may be a genuine epigenetic phenomenon.

Nessa Carey has a virology PhD from the University of Edinburgh and is a former Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology at Imperial College, London. She worked in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry for thirteen years and is now International Director for the UK’s leading organisation for technology transfer professionals. She lives in Norfolk and is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College.

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