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Definition of Epigenetics and a Reflection of the Video (Reaction Paper Sample)


The Reaction Paper Assignment
You will be writing a 1,000 word Reaction Paper in this course using the instructions and links found below. You will be completing the following tasks and gathering the following information for your paper:
Watch the epigenetics video from PBS. Begin your paper by defining epigenetics in your own words and discussing your reaction to the video.
Interview your family members and complete the Family History-Dr. Oz.pdf. Find out which disease(s) you are most at risk for.
Research and locate one article on epigenetics and whatever disease you are most at risk for (select a study on research conducted on humans) from a reputable academic source:
Reputable Sources:
journal articles
government publications based on research
Do not use:
magazines of any sort, whether they are on paper or online
Websites of any type, including epigenetics websites
How to Perform Your Research
Use the College Library in person or online (log in with your new MDC ID number (the one that is all numbers). Your password is the last four digits of that same MDC ID unless you have changed it.
Read the epigenetics article you find. Continue your paper with a discussion of the epigenetics article. Be sure to paraphrase (put things in your own words) and be sure to cite the author(s) of the article you find using APA style (see the section below on using APA style). Aim for about a page for this part of your paper.
Discuss the concept of epigenesis in light of your family history and the article you read. Aim for one page for this section of your paper.
Complete the Living to 100 Questionnaires. Integrate your findings on the questionnaire into your discussion. Aim for another page.
Discuss how you can improve your health and longevity in light of your findings in this questionnaire, your understanding of epigenetics, and your knowledge of your family history. This should be your final page.


The Concept of Epigenetics
Institution Affiliation:
The Concept of Epigenetics
Definition of Epigenetics and a Reflection of the Video
It is remarkable that identical twins originate from the same DNA but often turn out to be different as they grow older regardless of the genes having a significant genetic component. Epigenetics can better explain this conundrum. This is the study of hereditary shifts in the expression of active and inactive genes that doesn’t necessarily revolve around the changes in the fundamental DNA sequence which can be described as the change in phenotype while not interfering with the genotype thereby influencing the manner through which genes are perceived by cells (Wang, Chang & Lu, 2017). The video about epigenetics in PBS offers an engaging elaboration of what the concept of epigenetic modification entails through giving an account of several identical twins and the differences in the onset of diseases. It reveals that epigenetic changes mark as regular as well as natural occurrence but can be affected by other factors such as disease state, environment, age as well as lifestyle. The modifications in epigenetics often manifest through cells regeneration into skin cells, brain cells or liver cells among other fundamental cells in the body. In the same way, the epigenetic modification can lead to more damaging consequences such as the onset of diseases like Cancer. Through the contents of the video, it is revealed that there are mainly three systems associated with the silencing of a gene which is further considered in the initiation and sustaining of epigenetic modification. They revolve around, DNA methylation, non-coding RNA as well as histone modification.
An Article on Epigenetics
In an article by Feinberg & Fallin (2015), epigenetics is defined as the information shared through cell division rather than in the DNA sequence and further marks as the manner through one can differentiate stem cells from somatic cells, identical twins from each other as well as one organ from another. The authors further provide vivid illustrations that expound on the concept of epigenetics. For instance, they reveal that DNA methylation involves a covalent change in the nucleotide cytosine that is assimilated into the cell division by the sustaining enzyme DNA Methyltransferase at CpG dinucleotides.
According to Feinberg & Fallin (2015), compared to the system of DNA sequence, the epigenome is prone to yielding to environmental factors and stochastic interference as time goes by thereby increasing the diversity in phenotype among families. This further explains the differences among identical twins despite their origination from the same DNA and having genes with the significant genetic component. An excellent example offered by the authors revolves around the environmentally changed phenotype belonging to the agouti gene that is responsible for coat color as well as weight regulation in mice and which further manifests by epigenetic modification (Feinberg & Fallin, 2015). According to the authors, a recurrent DNA variant in the Agouti gene leads to its activation in a non-regulatory manner thereby giving a rise in obesity among the yellow coated mice. It was found that there’s a close correlation between nutrition among humans in their early life during the modulation of the epigenome. For this reason, it can be established that individuals can experience DNA methylation modifications in their genes if their parents or grandparents experiences harsh environmental factors. Lastly, the authors reveal that the prediction or risks is not dependent on a structured appliance as a sequence of genetic markers can be used to predict people at risk of getting a risk disease and determine the prevention and treatment approach.
Family History Discussion
Upon deeper reflection of my family history as depicted in Family History-Dr. Oz’s Work Sheet (see Appendix A) the concept of epigenesis can be traced. Although there are several differences among the diseases that each member of my family has, family history still marks as a strong risk factor for certain diseases following the consistency in the onset of some diseases among my family members. For instance, a considerable number of my family members appear to have allergies, anemia, asthma, and high cholesterol as well as eye conditions. Drawing back to the concept of epigenesis, it can be derived that each of them inherited a set of genes for their parents including a great deal of cultural and socioeconomic experiences that placed them at risk of these diseases. According to Feinberg & Fallin (2015), a risk metric anchored on inherited genes is not sufficient following the fact that it does not include environmental experiences and age factors among other demographic aspects. Therefore, I would not entirely base my risk metric on the results of the metrics and conclude that I am susceptible to these diseases. Nonetheless, taking into account inherited genetic variations among my family members, I would infer that the predisposed genomic and environmental interaction is directly related to the pathogenesis of such diseases.
Discussions of Results
Upon completing the 100 Living questionnaires, the results were somewhat fair, although I expected much better results (see Appendix B). In essence, my life healthy life expectancy is 60 years, probably due to my lack of a healthy and consistent diet and lifestyle. On the other hand, my overall life expectancy is 73.8 years which mark as the years free of heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. This is probably influenced by demographic factors, family history, as well as environmental factors and lifestyle. My potential life expectancy is 95.6 years according to my results thereby revealing that I can potentially add 21.8 years with a major lifestyle adjustment and disease prevention approaches. Although it is difficult to pinpoint the absolute factors that influence these results, I would identify the socioeconomic status and economic well-being and health behaviors among the core aspects behind the results (Jin et al., 2015). Socioeconomic status can influence the health outcomes of an individual as it is directly correlated to the quality of healthcare that one can access. Also, economic well-being has a potential influence as it enables one to have access to healthy meal plans and reduces stress and anxiety. Lastly, healthy behavior profoundly influenced the results due to my lack of a consistent exercise trend and poor diet.
Improving Life and Longevity
With the knowledge gained through learning about the concept of epigenetics and the exercise of reviewing my family history, I would improve my health and longevity through making several adjustments. Among these adjustments is a change in the diet through incorporating whole grains, fruits, and veggies. With whole grains in can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes as they contain bran, germ, and endosperm as well as grain kernel which are always milled out in refined grains (Fontana & Partridge, 2015). On the other hand, veggies and fruits are excellent sources of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins as well as other nutrients. This would go an extra mile towards decreasing the possibility of heart disease, stroke as well as high blood pressure and other ailments. Also, I will initiate a consistent exercise plan to ensure that I stay active and reduce risks of diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases. Lastly, through a consistent exercise plan, I would reduce stress and anxiety related to frustrations overs issues at home, school and work as well as concerns about my financial well-being. Therefore, with these adjustments would lead to changes in my brain and behavior thereby influencing how my offspring handle social and stressful situations (Carrell & Hotaling, 2017).
Carrell, D. T., & Hotaling, J. (2017). Using sperm testing to improve patient and offspring health: rational, evidence-based care of the infertile male in the ART clinic. Translational andrology and urology, 6(Suppl 4), S443.
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