Systems Biology and the Epigenome


Book Section

© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Epigenetics can be defined as the heritable perpetuation of gene activity without modification of the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms include methylation of cytosine residues within the DNA sequence and the posttranslational modification of histone proteins. The entirety of the epigenetic features of the genome is called the epigenome. This layer of regulatory information creates a dynamic interface between environmental cues and the genome that is essential for normal development and cellular function while at the same time, providing the mechanism by which the genome can respond to the environment by altering gene expression. As such, epigenetic and epigenomic characterization has rapidly become a primary interest for scientists studying the influence of the environment on human populations. In this chapter, we introduce the two major mechanisms of epigenetic regulation, DNA methylation and histone modifications, and how these impact the structure and function of the genome.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Taylor, MM; Murphy, SK

Published Date

  • July 7, 2015

Book Title

  • Systems Biology in Toxicology and Environmental Health

Start / End Page

  • 43 - 56

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780128015643

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/B978-0-12-801564-3.00003-1

Citation Source

  • Scopus