This activity is intended to serve as an introduction to the field of epigenetics, or the idea of “nature versus nurture”. The first activity, Explore the Epigenome leverages the UCSC Genome Browser - a powerful tool for visualizing genomic differences. This book is part of a series of books for the Genomic Data Science Analysis, Visualization, and Informatics Lab-space (AnVIL) of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Skills Level

Beginner: minimal prior knowledge/skill helpful

Programming skills
Novice: no programming experience needed

Learning Objectives

Learning objectives for this activity come from the Genetics Core Competencies:

  • Discuss how DNA is packaged in the chromosomes in terms of histones, nucleosomes, and chromatin.
  • Defend how most cells can have the same genetic content and yet have different functions in the body.
  • Contrast the packaging of DNA into euchromatin versus heterochromatin in the context of histone modification, and DNA modification (where applicable).
  • Discuss the potential roles of DNA modification, histone modification, and non-coding RNA in epigenetic inheritance, both somatic and germline.
  • Discuss environmental impacts on epigenetic systems.
  • Describe how differential histone modification modulates gene activity and is utilized in developmental progression.

AnVIL Collection

Additional guides are provided to help you with Workspaces, launch interactive tools, and start working with data. Learn more about AnVIL by visiting https://anvilproject.org or reading the article in Cell Genomics.

Please check out our full collection of AnVIL and related resources: https://hutchdatascience.org/AnVIL_Collection/