In 10 seconds? Scientists are putting their knowledge of epigenetics to work in the fight against cancer. Multiple cancer treatments have already come from this rapidly developing field.

Hey, I heard epigenetics is a cool field but I’m struggling to understand… could you help? I hoped you’d ask! For background, remember that all the information needed to run our cells is stored in our DNA. And let me tell you, DNA makes for a hefty operations manual–consisting of 3.2 billion units. Also, although all of the cells in our body have (roughly) the same DNA code, they can seamlessly carry out distinct functions (Think: eye cells vs. brain cells). How? Thanks to the remarkable ability of our cells to package and sort our DNA in ways that keep necessary genes 'turned on' and unnecessary genes 'turned off'. All this to say–epigenetics is the study of the ways how behaviors and environmental pressures impact which genes get turned ON and OFF.

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