Gene Expression and Epigenetics

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Feast or Famine?  The Effect of Environment on Gene Expression

The Seminar Paper and Questions

  • Download the seminar paper here and read this in preparation for your in-school workshop prior to the seminar on June 18th. 
  • Download the seminar questions here.  Use the focus questions to help you as you read the paper. 

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Post a question for the seminar

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Seminar Chat

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The Challenge Questions

  • The CHALLENGE QUESTIONS are for discussion in your school workshop after the seminar. 
  • Make sure that you post your ideas and answers to the challenge questions here.  This page will be monitored by teachers and scientists who will respond to your disucssion.

Links to your school programme

This seminar links to NCEA Level 3 Achievement Standards:

  • AS 90715 Biology 3.3 Describe the role of DNA in relation to gene expression
  • AS 90717 Biology 3.5 Describe Processes and Paterns of Evolution

A list of objectives from your Year 13 programme that link into the seminar can be found on page 4 of the Questions and Disucssion Handout.

About the Presenters

Jacquie Bay   |  Deborah Sloboda    |  Mark Vickers

Developmental Origins and Epigenetics Research at The Liggins Institute

Dr Deborah Sloboda and Dr Mark Vickers lead the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) research group at the Liggins Institute. This group is interested in understanding the impact of maternal nutrition on health and wellbeing in offspring. Many members of the Liggins Institute, including Professor Peter Gluckman who leads the Evolutionary Biology and Epigenetics research group are investigating how epigenetic mechanisms underpin the relationship between early life environment and phenotype. Dr Sloboda, Dr Vickers and Professor Gluckman collaborate with scientists from AgResearch, The Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences (A*STAR), the University of Southampton DOHaD Institute led by Professor Mark Hanson and McGill University Montreal.

Useful Links and References to Online Papers

Relevant Papers Available Freely Online  - Remember Nature Education Papers are written specifically for students your age.

Howie G J,  Sloboda D M, KamalT Vickers M H (2009) "Maternal nutritional history predicts obesity in adult offspring independent of postnatal diet" The Jounral of Physiology 587(4): 905 -915
Cooney, C, A. (2006) Germ cells carry the epigenetics benefits of grandmother’s diet PNAS Vol 103, no.46, 17071 –17072

Adams, J. (2008) Obesity, epigenetics, and gene regulation. Nature Education 1(1)

Jones P. A. (2008) Moving AHEAD with an international human epigenome project Nature Vol 454 711 - 715

Laura, B. (2008) Epigenomics: The new tool in studying complex diseases. Nature Education 1(1)

Simmons, D. (2008) Epigenetic influence and disease. Nature Education 1(1)

Experimental Simulation by Dr. Randy Jirtle and Dr. Robert Waterland at Duke University Medical Center showing epigenetic effects

Hunter, P. (2008) We are what we eat. The link between diet, evolution and non-genetic inheritance. EMBO reports 9, 5, 413–415
Pray, L. A (2004) Epigenetics: Genome, Meet Your Environment: As the evidence accumulates for epigenetics, researchers reacquire a taste for Lamarckism. The Scientist (2004) 18 (13): 14

Wade, P.A. Archer, T. K.(2006) Epigenetics – environmental instructions for the genome. Environmental Health Perspectives VOLUME 114, NUMBER 3

New Scientists's Evolution: 24 myths and misconceptions

Web Sites that will be useful.......................... 

Learn Genetics  - Epigenetics

The Raine Study - learn about the Raine Study in Australia

The International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online

Darwin Correspondence Project