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The Role of Epigenetics in the Development and Progression of Cancer - Literature review Example

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The author states that epigenetics have a role not only in cancer biology but also in several fields like viral infections, cloning, and somatic gene therapy. In this essay, the role of epigenetics in the development and progression of cancer are discussed through a review of the literature. …
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The Role of Epigenetics in the Development and Progression of Cancer
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Download file to see previous pages The main intention of such research has been to ascertain various mechanisms involved in the evolution and progress of each type of tumor and tumor variant. One of the major benefits of understanding the development of a tumor is the possibility of early detection of cancer which is very crucial to institute appropriate treatment and thus improve prognosis. Such immense research has thrown light on the involvement of epigenetic mechanisms apart from genetic mechanisms in the development of tumors. In fact, recent research by many cancer scientists like Baylain and Herman (2000) has suggested the role of both genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in the development and progression of cancer. Epigenetic mechanisms involve changes in gene expression that are not only heritable but also occur without any alteration in the DNA sequences. Das and Singal (2004) have defined epigenetics as a stable alteration in gene expression potential that takes place during development and cell proliferation, without any change in gene sequence. Research in epigenetics hs proven the role of mainly 2 epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of cancer. They are DNA methylation and covalent modifications of histones. It is interesting to know that both these mechanisms are actually interconnected. The most common epigenetic event happening in the mammalian genome is DNA methylation (Das and Singal, 2004). There is another epigenetic mechanism that has some role in tumorigenesis and that is the formation of repressive chromatin state by RNA. Scientists are of the opinion that these discoveries and advances in the field of epigenetics are only a beginning and there are probably several other mechanisms involved in the development of cancer and thus more research is warranted in this field.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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