General information

Module title Epigenetics - how we can control our own genotypes
Language EN
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Mirosława Siatecka
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position profesor
Faculty Faculty of Biology
Semester 2021/2022 (winter)
Duration 30


Module aim (aims)

Epigenetics is a relatively new branch of genetics and biomedicine. This proposed course will broaden knowledge of students about mechanisms of epigenetics and biological phenomena based on them. The course will present the possibilities how to use epigenetics in strategies of prevention, diagnosis and treatment in modern medicine.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Basic knowledge of genetics and molecular biology such as the structure of DNA, RNA, genes etc. Participant of seminars should have the skill to understand scientific texts.


Week 1: General overview; introduction to the fundamentals of epigenetics and summary of the profound implications of this relatively new discipline. (a basic terms in epigenetics, Waddington landscape, monozygotic twins as an study model, comparison of genetic and epigenetic codes, concept of different “epigenotypes” as a change in phenotype without a change in genotype)Week 2: Mechanisms of Epigenetics part 1. (DNA structure, chromatin structure, epigenetic modifications: DNA methylation, histone modifications, histone variants, chromatin remodelling)Week 3: Mechanisms of Epigenetics part 2. (gene silencing, heterochromatin assembly, RNA interference, lncRNA, microRNA, siRNA, piwiRNA, transposons)Week 4: Epigenetics phenomena: parental imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation – lyonization. (Imprinting and genetic disease: Angelman, Prader-Willi and Beckwith-Weidemann Syndromes)Week 5: Epigenetics and environment. (how lifestyle can influence epigenetic change, nurture vs nature, Dutch Famine Winter in 1944-45, epigenetic mechanisms associated with aging)Week 6: Behavioural epigenetics, the role of epigenetics in shaping animal behaviour. Epigenetic mechanisms in neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.Week 7: Epigenetic and Cancer. Epigenetic modifications in normal cells vs during tumorigenesis. Epigenetic modifications as potential targets of anti-cancer therapyWeek 8: Epigenetic mechanisms of metabolic memory in diabetes. Epigenetic and obesity. Week 9: Induced pluripotency and epigenetic reprogramming. Epigenetic therapies.Week 10: Summary, conclusions (How much do our genes influence who we are and what do we have control over ?)

Reading list

1. Allison L,A,: Fundamental Molecular Biology,2nd Edition, Wiley, 20112. Carey N: The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Diseases and Inheritance., Columbia University Press Reprint edition, New York 20133. Francis R,C, : Epigenetics:How Enviroment Shapes our Genes, W.W.Norton&Company, 20124. Additional readings will be provided during the lecture