Epigenetic 'memory' key to nature versus nurture
Researchers at the John Innes Centre have made a discovery, reported in Nature, that explains how an organism can create a biological memory of some variable condition, such as quality of nutrition or temperature. The discovery explains the mechanism of this memory — a sort of biological switch — and how it can also be inherited by offspring. The work was led by professors Martin Howard and Caroline Dean at the center. "There are quite a few examples that we now know of where the activity of genes can be affected in the long term by environmental factors," Dean said. "And in some cases the environment of an individual can actually affect the biology or physiology of their offspring but there is no change to the genome sequence."
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