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Epigenetics: How Environment Changes Your Biology

An expert in epigenetics explains the deep chemistry of life.
Epigenetics: How Environment Changes Your Biology is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 36.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning Wow! Amazing how much this field has progressed since I graduated from Med School. Our understanding of genetics has been entirely upended by the field of epigenetics. The lecturer does an excellent job of presenting the material. She invokes various diseases to illustrate some of the points and while I understand these diseases reflexively, you don't have to be a physician to get it...she explains the fundamentals of the diseases in easy-to-understand terms.
Date published: 2024-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epigenetics I am now on episode six - halfway through the course! I have been looking for a clear explanation of epigenetics and here it is.
Date published: 2023-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative - how wonderfully complicated our world is
Date published: 2023-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New Light on Old Ideas This is one of the most information-dense courses I have watch from TTC. My formal education is in Geology and Philosophy of Science, and I'm always fascinated by the ways in which old ideas (such as Lamarckism) be infused with new information (from fields such as epigenetics) to give us a more profound understanding of reality. I loved this course, but I think I will have to watch it a few more times to fully comprehend it.
Date published: 2023-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good introduction and overview of Epigenetics Complicated topic that was done enthusiastically and with great graphics. Its not easy to follow sometimes due to the details but it is effective in giving one a sense of the complexity of microbiology and the playing field (interaction) between our experience and the world (our environment).
Date published: 2023-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderfully Communicated! As someone in the life sciences space I am incredibly impressed how Dr. Mykura put this course on epigenetics together in a way that laypeople will understand while also having a lot for people who are familiar with molecular biology and genetics. Dr Mykura is also an absolutely outstanding communicator. Great course!
Date published: 2023-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting topic I had heard the term Epigenetics but really didn't understand what it was. This course has certainly helped me to understand. The presenter is articulate and animated and it is clear she has a true interest in her subject. Although I was able to follow what was being presented. There was a lot of information on offer so I am sure that a second viewing will reveal much that I missed the first time. There were plenty of graphics, animations etc to help explain things, and keep one from drifting off. If someone has even a passing interest in biology and DNA etc, then this may well help to satisfy that interest, or at least be a catalyst for further exploration.
Date published: 2023-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We've come a LONG way! Every course I watch is preceded by a web search on the presenter. When this course premiered on Wondrium, I found Dr. Charlotte Mykura's site which stated that, among other things, she was a "science comedian." Well, that did it for me--next! Some months (and reviews) later, I returned, took a look at the content and for better or for worse, decided to take the plunge. When I was in med school (early '70s) epigenetics was, to use a trite old phrase, "just a twinkle in its Daddy's (genetics) eye." There was precious little information on genetics, much less epigenetics. So come on, Doc--teach me. And teach she did! The amount of information now available is staggering! In the relatively few years she has been in the field, Dr. Mykura's understanding and grasp of the ins and outs of epigenetics amazed me. Her choice of graphics, especially the computer-generated models of the cellular nucleus at 10,000,000X magnification, was excellent. Rather than static graphics, these imitated the movement of the DNA strands when they come in contact with proteins, etc. Twelve lectures is precious little time to give one a feeling of comfort in epigenetics and there were terms and concepts which were foreign to me. Given the constraints of the course, Dr. Mykura did an admirable job of explaining them. Some she left unexplained but a look in the course guidebook took over where she left off. If you're interested in discovering not only what changes epigenetics can cause in DNA but also HOW those changes are made, then this course is for you. Even this crusty ol' Doc learned more than he hoped for! Finally, there have been some reviewers who have commented negatively as to her delivery style. "Wide-eyed and emphatic," said one and "seemed to try WAY too hard to get me interested in epigenetics," said another. Okay, I can see the validity in that but for me it didn't distract from the information presented. And when push comes to shove, I'll take a wide-eyed and empathetic presenter any day over a dull, monotoned one. Keep up the good work, Doc--hope to see another series by you!!!
Date published: 2023-09-23
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Taught by physician-scientist Dr. Charlotte Mykura, this course introduces the science of epigenetics, which goes together with genetics to explain physiology, heritability, disease, and every other aspect of living cells. You learn how the double helix of DNA is transformed by a host of molecules that constitute the epigenome and which implement the genetic code by switching genes on and off.


Charlotte Mykura

Within each one of our cells, we hold a beautiful epigenetic jungle surrounding our DNA that manipulates our genetic code.


North Bristol NHS Trust

Dr. Charlotte Mykura is a foundation doctor with the North Bristol NHS Trust. She earned her MD at Swansea University and her PhD in Epigenetics at Imperial College London, where she focused on protein complexes that fold, organize, and repair DNA. She is also a science communicator who has explored genetics, epigenetics, and evolution with audiences at such venues as the ZSL London Zoo and London’s Science Museum. Additionally, she has participated in several festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Cheltenham Science Festival.

By This Expert

Epigenetics: How Environment Changes Your Biology
Epigenetics: How Environment Changes Your Biology


Living DNA and the Epigenetic Universe

01: Living DNA and the Epigenetic Universe

DNA may get all the credit, but the behind-the-scenes manipulator of genetic information, making DNA perform the myriad functions of life, is epigenetics. Dr. Mykura introduces this exciting field, which is rewriting our understanding of gene expression, and how our behavior and the environment can influence traits that were previously thought to be hardwired into our genetic code.

34 min
How Your Epigenetic Code Changes

02: How Your Epigenetic Code Changes

Delve into the molecular machinery of the epigenetic code, that living jungle which controls our DNA. See how the central dogma of cell biology, that DNA makes RNA makes proteins, is only possible due to epigenetic processes. Also, see how epigenetic factors create a system of inheritance that is entirely separate from—but intimately involved with—our genomes.

32 min
What You Eat and the Epigenetics of Your Gut

03: What You Eat and the Epigenetics of Your Gut

Explore the epigenetics of food and how our diet can affect our DNA. A famous example is the Dutch famine at the end of World War II, which left a legacy of health problems not just among the survivors, but also in their yet-to-be-conceived descendants—an outcome that defied traditional genetics. Discover how epigenetics explains this phenomenon, as well as trends such as today’s obesity epidemic.

28 min
Can We Slow the Epigenetics of Aging?

04: Can We Slow the Epigenetics of Aging?

Epigenetics plays a key role in aging, giving humans long lives compared to other mammals, but also setting a limit on longevity. This raises the question: Can we use our knowledge of epigenetics to stop aging, or at least slow it down? Focus on an enzyme called telomerase, which in theory can restore cells to youth, but at a terrible cost. In this light, consider the advantages of aging.

29 min
Brain Epigenetics, Stress, and Memory

05: Brain Epigenetics, Stress, and Memory

The brain is the most complex structure that we know, able to produce an infinite variety of behaviors and store prodigious amounts of information. Learn how epigenetics governs the genes that are expressed within the brain. Then, look at brain pathologies such as schizophrenia that are partly due to epigenetic effects. Also, evaluate the impact of drug use on brain development.

31 min
The Heart and Lungs, Epigenetics, and Exercise

06: The Heart and Lungs, Epigenetics, and Exercise

See how epigenetic changes due to diet and cigarettes can affect the heart and lungs. For example, lung cancer was once considered a disease of genetic processes, but it is now known to involve many epigenetic mutations that disrupt the on/off state of specific genes. Then study a more positive phenomenon: how the epigenetic alterations from regular exercise can have long-term health benefits.

31 min
Cancer Epigenetics versus Your DNA Repair

07: Cancer Epigenetics versus Your DNA Repair

Follow the ongoing epigenetic battle taking place in all of us. It pits naturally occurring or environmentally induced cellular damage, which could lead to cancer, against the powerful mechanisms of DNA repair. Compare the chromosomes in a healthy cell versus a cancerous cell. Also, look at different cancer triggers, including ultraviolet light and the body’s hormonal and microbial environments.

29 min
Disease-Fighting Epigenetics and Immunity

08: Disease-Fighting Epigenetics and Immunity

The body’s immune system incorporates a huge amount of epigenetic complexity. Learn how this works in the two types of immunity: innate and adaptive. Innate immunity is inherited and evolutionarily very ancient, while adaptive immunity can respond to pathogens that may have evolved mere hours ago. Probe the danger of immune cells attacking the body’s own cells in autoimmune diseases.

30 min
Female and Male? The Epigenetics of X and Y

09: Female and Male? The Epigenetics of X and Y

Why are there two sexes, and what does epigenetics have to do with it? Zero in on the X and Y chromosomes, following events that cause a fertilized egg with two Xs to develop ovaries, while an embryo with an X and a Y develops testes. Investigate why the Y chromosome has a minimal number of genes and whether it will eventually disappear from the sexual reproduction of our species.

32 min
Human Life Begins with Epigenetics

10: Human Life Begins with Epigenetics

Rewind the process of embryogenesis to individual egg and sperm cells. Although their epigenetic features are largely wiped clean, they still must orchestrate the complex development of an embryo to produce a baby. Study the steps needed to get to a fertilized egg and the even more involved epigenetic processes as the embryo differentiates. Also, pinpoint steps where embryogenesis can go wrong.

31 min
Inheriting Epigenetics in Plants—and People?

11: Inheriting Epigenetics in Plants—and People?

Does epigenetics mean that 19th-century French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was right about the inheritance of acquired characteristics? Learn that this phenomenon, called transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, is difficult to prove, especially in humans. In the search for evidence, evaluate a prominent study of isolated human populations. Then, see that plants shed intriguing light on this question.

32 min
The Evolution of Epigenetics and Our Future

12: The Evolution of Epigenetics and Our Future

Turn back the clock to the era before DNA, when RNA may have dominated life processes, playing both genetic and epigenetic roles. Focus on the epigenetics taking place in bacteria, as well as in older, single-celled organisms called archaea. Go deeper into the diverse epigenetic activity in plants. Finish the course by looking ahead at the many promising lines of research in epigenetics.

33 min