Climate, exercise, stress, our diet and environmental factors in general influence how the genes in our body are regulated. Epigenetic changes, such as the modification of DNA through methylation at specific sites, determine when and which part of the genetic information is read. These modifications act like locks that block or allow access to certain DNA sequences and thus control which genes are active or inactive.
The totality of epigenetic modifications - the so-called epigenome - can, for example, cause a disease to manifest in a person while his or her genetically identical twin is spared. Evonik and Epimune have now agreed to jointly research certain questions relating to epigenetics.