The Illustrated Guide to Epigenetics
Illustrations by Joe Kloc This month marks the ten-year anniversary of the sequencing of the human genome, that noble achievement underpinning the less noble sales of 23andMe's direct-to-consumer genetic tests. To commemorate the scientific occasion, we've created an illustrated introduction to one subfield of genetics likely to produce even more dubious novelty science projects someday: epigenetics. What is epigenetics? Human life begins as a single cell equipped with all of the genetic information—known as the genome—it will need to develop into a full-grown adult. Through a process of repeated cell division, this cell eventually multiplies into tens of trillions of cells, each containing a complete copy of the genome. FIGURE 1: Through a process called mitosis, a single cell (A) splits into two cells (B) with identical genetic information. FIGURE 2: DNA coils around proteins called histones, forming a nucleosome. How does the epigenome work?
Related: Genetics 1