Beyond the Gene: Epigenetics Revealed

The Public Science LecturesJune 12, 2012 Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Mary Gehring, Ph.D. Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Assistant Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Mary Gehring discusses how an how epigenetics works. An organism’s phenotypic traits are in large part hard-wired in the sequence of its DNA. Yet phenomena described more than 50 years ago indicated another layer of information exists on top of the genetic code: the epigenome. Chemical modifications to the proteins that package DNA or to the DNA itself can alter how the cell interprets the genetic code. This lecture will explore the contribution of epigenetics to growth and development, with a particular emphasis on plants, which have served as an important model system for understanding these processes.

about Dr. Gehring's work. Dr. Gehring specializes in plant biology, and her research focus is epigenetic reprogramming in a plant that is especially well suited for investigation of epigenetic processes generally, Arabidopsis thaliana.