Epigenetic Testing: What You Need To Know

Epigenetic testing is a type of genetic testing that examines the changes in gene expression caused by environmental and lifestyle factors, such as pollution, stress, and diet. Unlike traditional genetic testing that analyzes the DNA sequence, epigenetic testing evaluates how genes are turned on or off.

Here is a bit of information about epigenetic testing to help you better understand it.

What Is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. Your genes play an important role in your health, but so do your behaviors and environment, such as what you eat and how physically active you are.

How Do Epigenetics Affect Gene Expression?

Variations in epigenetics cause the genes to express in different ways. Here are some types of epigenetic changes.

Histone Modification

DNA encircles special proteins, which are called histones. These proteins can be tightly grouped together. When they are tightly packed, the DNA cannot be easily accessed by reader proteins, and the gene expression is consequently turned off.

When histones are grouped together in loose formations, more of the DNA strand is exposed and accessible. Thus, the proteins can read the gene, and the gene is turned on. The addition or removal of chemical groups from histones can make their formation tighter or looser, turning the expression of particular genes off or on.

DNA Methylation

DNA methylation involves the addition of a chemical group to a DNA strand. The chemical group is usually added to specific areas on the strand. There, the group prevents the proteins that attach to the strand from reading the gene.

This chemical group can be detached through demethylation, a process that turns on the gene expression, or attached through methylation, which turns off the expression of the gene.

Non-coding RNA

Your DNA instructs your body on how to make RNA, both coding and non-coding variations.  The body uses the coding RNA to make proteins. However, the non-coding RNA attaches to the coding RNA to help determine how the genes are expressed.  In addition, the non-coding RNA can attach to additional proteins, modifying histones to turn on or off the expression of a gene.

Why is Epigenetic Testing Important?

Epigenetic testing can help you understand your biological age, which is different from your chronological age. Your biological age reflects how well your cells and tissues are functioning, and how much they have been affected by aging and other factors.

Knowing your biological age can help you take steps to improve your health and prevent or delay age-related diseases. Epigenetic testing can also provide personalized recommendations based on your DNA test results, such as dietary changes, supplements, exercise routines, and stress management techniques.

To learn more about epigenetic testing, schedule a consultation with a tester in your local area.



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