Epigenetics (Photo credit: AJC1)

My background was physics. In physics we know that distance over time is velocity or speed. A relatively new area of biology is looking at epigenetics over time. Epigenetics is far more complex than genetics and it is changing over time. A current belief is that illnesses may be caused by long-term patterns in epigenetic changes. Researchers are using Guthrie Cards to sample an individual’s blood at birth and then several times during their lives. These samples will show not only genetics (which is stable) but epigenetics (which is changing). They can look at long-term change patterns and how they relate to diseases. We know a lot about genes that are associated with particular illnesses. By looking at how the epigenetics associated with these genes change over time we can find patterns in the epigenetics. The real problem starts here, we now have to associate environmental changes with the epigenetic changes to determine which parts of our environment is causing which illnesses.