While genetics does play the most important role in determining health status and physical attributes, environment, diet, and nutrition are also key factors to be considered. And that is where epigenetics comes in. Quite simply, the field of epigenetics involves alteration of the gene expression rather than modification of the genetic code itself. It literally means “in addition to changes in genetic sequence.” Any change to the gene expression caused by external factors comes under the sphere of epigenetics.
It is believed that the tools to tackle complex diseases such as Huntington's, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and schizophrenia lie in the folds of epigenetics. Unsurprisingly, epigenetics has left an indelible mark on the research and clinical community, and several biotechnological companies have raced to feed the need for epigenetic information. In April 2023, biomodal commercially opened the doors on its new duet multiomics solution that enables the analysis of both genetic and epigenetic information in a single workflow.
The winds of epigenetics have brushed the hallowed walls of personalized medicine too. A study published in June 2023 uncovered an epigenetic signature in the cancer cells of patients suffering from leukemia who responded to a new anti-cancer treatment known as azacitidine. The results of this research hold immense significance as they signal a step towards personalized therapy against leukemia. A Eureka moment indeed!
Epigenetics is still in the nascent stage of development, but with the integration of advanced technologies such as the formidable AI/ML duo and telehealth strategies, the field of epigenetics is set for an explosion in the coming years.