An attempt was made to systematize theoretical and experimental epigenetic data in the framework of genetics as a science on laws of preservation, coding, transfer, and transformation of heritable information in the living systems. The structure of the total hereditary memory is discussed in context of the theory of epigenes, hereditary units of the next to genes level of complexity. In epigenes as cells of functional hereditary memory, part of the hereditary information is stored, coded, and transmitted to the progeny irrespective of the primary structure of the genomic DNA molecules. The principles of the structure and the general laws of functioning of cellular governing gene networks are presented. The ontogenetic and phylogenetic role of epigene networks as the second level of the hereditary system is considered. Arguments for inheritance of somatic epimutations are presented, as well as the results of in silico and in vivo experiments showing the possibility of an epigenetic mechanism of primary biochemical divergent determination (autodetermination). A network hypothesis on material carriers of the common heterotary memory is formulated.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 21, 2006
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