What is epigenomics?

The DNA sequence that makes up our genome is often referred to as the "hardware" of our body, as it is static and only provides specifications for the set of genes present, but not the instructions for how the hardware functions to turn genes "on" or "off".

Knowing the genetic sequence alone would be similar to buying a computer and knowing only the hardware specs, but not having knowledge about what operating systems it runs or the software available.

The field that covers the "software" programming layer sitting on top of the genomic hardware is called epigenomics (meaning "above-genomics"). This "software" layer is dynamic and is affected by both nature (inheritance) and nurture (environmental factors, such as food, experience), and captures rich value and insights.

Innovations in sequencing technologies have unlocked our understanding of the "hardware" layer.  Understanding the "software" programming layer of our genome has yet to be unlocked due to limitations of existing technologies.



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