Epigenomics Modulation Therapy

David Siclair’s research has demonstrated the role of epigenetics in pacing the aging process. He has even went further and asserted that if we can get a hold of the epigenomic profile at each age, we could even reverse aging.

We do have the epidenomic profile at T=0. It is the one that is evident in the egg and sperm at conception. But what about the dynamics of epigenomics? How does the embroyo develops thru multiple cell differentiation steps?

David believes that there is a vault somewhere in the cell that stores those temporal profiles and a control mechanism that applies them. If this is discovered and made to work, it certainly deserves a (Nobel) prize.

My assertion is that what we have been calling “Junk DNA” is the repository of such methylation sequences and this is a place to look for the “fountain of youth”.

Interesting idea.

I will only note:

Upon fertilization (the fusion of the spermatozoon with the ovum) most of the epigenetic marks on both sperm and ovum are erased* (‘wiped clean’) with most erasure occurring on the sperm’s genome. This is known as nuclear reprogramming and serves to ‘reset’ the new diploid (two parent) genome so that proper cell differentiation can take place.

*A few epigenetic modifications on a few key genes (necessary for embryonic development) on both genomes remain and are inherited by descendant cells. This is known as genomic imprinting.

Also, much of this so called ‘junk DNA’ was discovered to play a major regulatory role (depending on its location and proximity to other regulatory regions, some that do code for protein complexes known as transcription factors) in gene expression. This discovery goes back nearly a decade.

Additionally, some of this junk DNA is comprised of ‘transposable elements’ (long non-coding sequences of DNA believed to have been incorporated into DNA via ancient encounters with viruses). One function of DNA ‘methylation’ (a type of epigenetic mark) is to silence these transposable elements which may play roles in disease causation… So, yes, some of these ‘junk’ sequences are indeed methylated, but not all. And, much methylation of DNA occurs in exomic portions of DNA (portions that code for actual proteins)… which is what silences gene expression (like oncogenes) and produces different phenotypes.