Your genome codes for the traits that make up who you are. However, your genome is not the whole story – your epigenome also influences these traits by controlling how genes are expressed.
Genetic testing is a new technology that allows us to sequence our DNA and to determine what our genes say about who we are. With new technological advances it is becoming increasingly quick, easy, and inexpensive to sequence genomes for genetic testing.
For more information, please watch the NOVA ScienceNOW episodes of “Personal DNA Testing” and “Epigenetics” found at the links below.
Personal DNA Testing:
(Please note: you only need to watch the above video from minute 1:40-13:50)
Using the information in these videos, please answer the following questions:
1. What are some benefits associated with genetic testing mentioned in the “Personal DNA Testing” video?
2. What are some risks or limitations associated with genetic testing mentioned in the “Personal DNA Testing” video?
3. Would you want to undergo a genetic test? Explain why or why not. If so, are there any results that you would not want to know?
4. What are some factors mentioned in the “Epigenetics” video that can cause changes to the epigenome?
5. We inherit our genes and our initial epigenetic structure from our parents – we don’t have a choice in the matter. However, epigenetic changes continue to occur throughout one’s lifetime based on environmental influences and lifestyle choices, and these changes may also be heritable. How might you use this knowledge going forward in your own life?
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