Epigenetics: Its role in aging, diseases and biological age estimation

Christian Thomasa, Sara C. Zapico

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Epigenetics, a new emerging field in biomedical science, is defined as the study of heritable changes in gene function that do not change the DNA sequence, also describing the mechanisms that enable cells to respond quickly to environmental changes and providing a link between genes and the environment (Egger et al. 2004, Turan et al. 2010). DNA is wrapped around clusters (octamers) of globular histone proteins to form nucleosomes, which are organized into chromatin. Changes to the structure of chromatin influence gene expression because when chromatin is condensed, genes are inactivated, while they are expressed when chromatin is opened (Peterson and Laniel 2004, Rountree et al. 2001). These changes are controlled by reversible epigenetic patterns of DNA methylation and histone modifications (Feinberg and Tycko 2004). Alterations in these patterns can dysregulate gene expression, leading to diseases and accelerated aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMechanisms Linking Aging, Diseases and Biological Age Estimation
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781498709705
ISBN (Print)9781498709699
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


  • Age-at-death estimation
  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Chromatin
  • DNA methylation
  • ELOVL2
  • Epigenetics
  • Histone
  • Immune system
  • LncRNA
  • MiRNA
  • Ncrna
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Nucleosome


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