English: This image shows a DNA molecule that ...

English: This image shows a DNA molecule that is methylated on both strands on the center cytosine. DNA methylation plays an important role for epigenetic gene regulation in development and cancer. The picture shows the crystal structure of a short DNA helix with sequence “accgcCGgcgcc”, which is methylated on both strands at the center cytosine. The structure was taken from the Protein Data Bank (accession number 329D), rendering was performed with VMD and post-processing was done in Photoshop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The turning of a gene ON or OFF is called epigenetics. Many environmental changes can cause these subtle switches on our DNA. The results of having a gene turned on can for example be cancer or a gene being turned off like our tumor suppressor genes. Genes control us and make us who we are. Our liver cells differ from our heart cells due to epigenetic switches. Mammals differ from one another because of epigenetic switches. Learn.genetics says: “Nutrients from our food are turned into methyl groups along a pathway: the pathway is made up of many players that manipulate molecules into methyl groups and ultimately put them on our DNA”. Diet is so important to our health and well-being but is not considered by most Americans when dealing with health issues.

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