Epi - is a greek prefix for ‘above’.
Genetics is the study of our DNA. Together, Epigenetics means the study of things above and beyond the genome! This means we are studying the changes to your DNA and how it actually affects the body instead of what the DNA could possibly do or mean.
It is often more useful than genetics because it allows us to see how the genetic material in your body behaves instead of just seeing what it contains! Traditional genetics is like looking at a light bulb and its components but not knowing if the bulb is producing light. Epigenetics lets us know if the life bulb is on or off.
Risk factors including lifestyle factors (nutrition, smoking and alcohol consumption, behavior, stress, physical activity, and working habits, etc.) and environmental factors (exposures, stressors, etc.) can impact these modifications, and therefore, impact how our genes perform.