October 4

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Chromosome 11 – Epigenetics: creating meaning in the blueprint

By heheals

October 4, 2020




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DNA was long considered the blueprint of life, expected to reveal everything there was to know about a particular human being. It turns out, however, that we still don’t fully understand how these genetic sequences code for all that we see around us, and that there is a whole extra layer of information to our genetic code called “epigenetics”.

Epigenetic markers on our DNA influence the way in which genes are “read”, rather like punctuation in a sentence, determining whether a particular gene will be expressed or not. We usually have two “switched on” copies of each gene (one from each parent), but this is not always the case. Fatima Santos, from The Babraham Institute explains how Chromosome 11 has helped us to understand how epigenetic markers can result in certain DNA sequences being expressed in one cell and not in another. In the future chromosome 11 will play a vital role in investigating how epigenetic modifications could control the expression of genes.

With thanks to BBSRC: http://bbsrc.ac.uk/

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  1. I was born with beckwith Syndrome. I know it was cause by an abnormality in chromosome 11. Don't know if it was my mothers side or my dad's side of the 11th chromosome that caused the abnormality.

  2. This was a rather confusing video. I half thought one copy of chromosome 11 was switched off in each cell, X-chromosome style, and had to check to make sure that was not the case! I suppose you hardly had any time to explain imprinting but it was a little confusing :S

  3. Fascinating! So, how does the abundance of food mark itself on this chromosome?

    It makes me wonder what other environmental characteristics of the past are stored within genes. Do you have any more interesting examples of this?

  4. Please. I implore you. Stop with all the calling our DNA a "blueprint". It's very counterproductive to relaying what it actually is. There is no representation of the finished product in DNA. If you feel the need to use snappy one liners and anecdotal terminology to reach the masses, then call it a recipe.  After all, it is a chemical process in much the same way cooking is.

  5. The chromosome she showes is just duplicated. It doesn't come half from the mother and half from the father. I understand they want to simplify it, but showing two single chromosomes would be equally easy..

  6. This video was very confusing. Is there only epigenitic markers on Chromosom 11? I don't think so. And the stuff about one needs to be on the other needs to be off. The entire Chromosom? because it sounds like it in the video.

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