What is Epigenetics and what can it tell us?

Reference source: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/howgeneswork/epigenome

What is epigenetics?

DNA modifications that do not change the DNA sequence can affect gene activity. Chemical compounds that are added to single genes can regulate their activity; these modifications are known as epigenetic changes. The epigenome comprises all of the chemical compounds that have been added to the entirety of one’s DNA (genome) as a way to regulate the activity (expression) of all the genes within the genome. The chemical compounds of the epigenome are not part of the DNA sequence, but are on or attached to DNA (“epi-“ means above in Greek). Epigenetic modifications remain as cells divide and in some cases can be inherited through the generations. Environmental influences, such as a person’s diet and exposure to pollutants, can also impact the epigenome.

Epigenetic changes can help determine whether genes are turned on or off and can influence the production of proteins in certain cells, ensuring that only necessary proteins are produced. For example, proteins that promote bone growth are not produced in muscle cells. Patterns of epigenetic modification vary among individuals, different tissues within an individual, and even different cells.

A common type of epigenetic modification is called methylation. Methylation involves attaching small molecules called methyl groups, each consisting of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms, to segments of DNA. When methyl groups are added to a particular gene, that gene is turned off or silenced, and no protein is produced from that gene.

Because errors in the epigenetic process, such as modifying the wrong gene or failing to add a compound to a gene, can lead to abnormal gene activity or inactivity, they can cause genetic disorders. Conditions including cancers, metabolic disorders, and degenerative disorders have all been found to be related to epigenetic errors.

Scientists continue to explore the relationship between the genome and the chemical compounds that modify it. In particular, they are studying what effect the modifications have on gene function, protein production, and human health.

Donna Messer Wilkes County, NC Genealogy Court Records 1736-1957


Donna is a very excellent source for African American Genealogy Research.

The records below are on microfilm with family search and are available below on Bastardy Bonds in many counties of North Carolina. Another way of finding and bridging the gap between our ancestors.



Donna Messer posted in Wilkes County, N.C. genealogy.
Donna Messer
March 14 at 11:35am
NC BASTARDY BONDS – Last but not least! I have found these the most helpful of the microfilms at the State Archives. I’m probably not alone in having some dead ends on my branches because of illegitimate births. Don’t stop with the first entry you find about your relative. There are usually several pages about each illegitimate child and sometimes the name or birth date will appear in one of the documents. I got so much beneficial information from these microfilms and maybe you will find something new too. (Scroll down to county and date you want and click on camera icon.) https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/766391?availability=Family%20History%20Library

Genealogy Working Sessions March 28 and April 3, 2018

Discussion Group Meetings:
Wed., March 28, 2018 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
* first session DNA, Pedigree Charts (maybe Ahnentafel Charts is more appropriate), Military Records, and Land Records.
Tues., April 3, 2018 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
* second session – Organizing Paperwork, Document Research, Slave Schedules and Finding People.
Members in attendance, who are able to help other members with their research, will strengthen these sessions. These working sessions are in addition to the web sessions that Ben Montgomery has/is hosting.
I will send out an Evite, for each session, to all of the members on our membership list.  I will order salads, beverages, and sandwiches based on the Evite count.


480-580-7828 (cell)