Monozygotic Twins and Epigenetics
Epigenetic Regulation and Epigenomics
Published Online: 15 MAY 2012
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Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine
How to Cite
Doucet, J.-S. and Wong, A. H. C. 2012. Monozygotic Twins and Epigenetics. Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. .
- Published Online: 15 MAY 2012
Twins have been the subject of both art and scientific investigation for millennia. Twins allow the exploration of the impact of genes and the environment on phenotypic traits, and are important for studying the etiology of disease. Whilst traditional genetic studies have relied on twins as a particularly informative type of family structure, twins have more recently become crucial for exploring epigenetics – the potentially reversible DNA and chromatin modifications (e.g., methylation and acetylation) that regulate gene expression and other genomic functions. Such modifications may ultimately affect the amount, timing, and location of protein expression, which may have an equally major impact on phenotype as do protein-coding structural mutations. Monozygotic twins have near-identical DNA sequences, and offer unique opportunities to study epigenetic effects on phenotype, and the way in which epigenetic information is modified and maintained. The epigenetic code may also be transmitted across generations although, unlike the DNA code, epigenetic modifications may be modified by environmental inputs. Consequently, monozygotic twins become even more important for investigating the dynamic regulation and function of the epigenetic code.
- Monozygotic twins;
- Dizygotic twins;