External Factors and Their Influence on Gene Expression

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External Factors and their Influence on Gene Expression

By Jessica Saxton


The discovery of DNA as the source of heredity and genetics opened countless doors for the development of more theories on genetics. Through the development of the known genetic code, scientists are able to compare what is known to what is being expressed. Because there is a universally set genetic code, yet we are all different, there must be another factor in DNA and the way we are. This comes into play as gene expression; not every gene on a DNA sequence is expressed. The differences in gene expression are often linked to internal and external sources. Countless amounts of external sources are linked to not only the expression of genes that link to the development of diseases, but also other factors such as the fertility of a person, the way a person develops mentally, and even the potential of obesity.

One of the best ways to study the effects of environmental factors on gene expression is through the study of identical twins, simply because they begin with nearly identical genetic sequences, yet throughout life and different exposures, one twin may express one specific gene, while the other does not. Perhaps further experimentation and studies on external factors may lead to not only the cure for cancer, but also the key to a healthier lifestyle.

Literature Review

How is it that no two humans are supposedly alike, yet when you look at the basics, we are all made of the same basic elements and molecules? The key to this question is our DNA. Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is known as the source of all genetic material. A gene is defined as the specific sequence of DNA which will code for a specific function or trait (Wikipedia, 2013c). According...