A new study published in Briefings in Functional Genomics evaluated how epigenetics modulate human genetic programs and how it emphasizes or silences genes and concluded that if epigenetics is disrupted. it might switch on oncogenes (genes that under certain circumstances transform cells into tumor cells) or shut down tumor suppressors. Both processes will transform cells into tumor cells and cause cancer.
Experiments carried out years ago showed that chemical modification affecting the packaging of DNA can switch genes on or off. Epigenetics evolved to explain the changes caused by modification of gene expression , instead of altering the gene code itself and focuses on factors that regulate how and when certain genes are turned on and off. In contract, epigenomics relates to the analysis of global epigenetic changes across many genes. Current research shows that complementary forces of on and off switches keep each other is check. If one force overtakes, the system gets out of equibrium. and the cells either experience unlimited growth, cancer, or death. It is believed that a better understanding of these processes will lead to counter factors to prevent cancer.