Encyclopedia > Epigenetics

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Epigenetics is a relatively new field in molecular biology, the study of heritable traits that don't involve a change in gene sequence. The expression of genes can be affected in a heritable fashion, even if the DNA sequence in the nucleus remains the same. This could be a consequence of a difference in DNA methylation or in chromatin structure. Another option could involve the genomes of cytoplasmic elements (chloroplasts and mitochondria). Other mechanisms have also been proposed. The phenomenon was first observed in plants. See epigenetic inheritance for a more detailed discussion.

The epigenome is the overal epigenetic state of an organism.

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