Dr. Edel M. Hyland of Queen’s University Belfast, joins Belfast Science Café to Present:

“Why identical twins are not truly identical”

Our genetic material, DNA, contains all the biological instructions that make each one of us unique. Identical twins start off life with the exact same DNA sequence, and therefore the exact same set of biological instructions. However, over the course of their lifetime, identical twins can exhibit significant differences, suggesting that their individual set of instructions can be altered during their life.

Furthermore, each twin can pass on these alterations to their own descendants. This is the exciting field of epigenetics, which explores how experiences in life can modify our genetic material.

In this science café talk I will discuss what we know about how our DNA is modified throughout life. I will provide you with mechanistic insights into the current understanding of how epigenetics works, and why it has implications into human health and disease, most notably cancer. Although this field is still in its infancy, and there are more questions than we currently have answers for, I will give you a glimpse into how scientists are tackling these questions. Finally I will discuss my own research interest, which investigates whether epigenetics has influenced evolution.

Booking for this event has now closed.