Epigenetics—the study of internal and environmental factors that affect how genes are turned on or off and how cells read those genes—is a rapidly emerging science akin to genetics that introduces a number of novel and unexpected biological explanations of human origins and development. It also poses fundamental challenges to many of the assumptions of the prevailing science of genetics. When science changes, how does public policy respond?
This book comprehensively considers the political implications of the emerging science of epigenetics in specific policy domains, addressing the intersections of epigenetics with cancer, obesity, the environment, and the law. Author Shea K. Robison carefully navigates the messy history of genetics and epigenetics in order to explore what changes in public policy might come in the age of a new scientific frontier. Readers will understand how new findings in epigenetic research and increased acceptance of epigenetic science may lead to paradigm shifts in cancer prevention and treatment, significantly different policy solutions for combating obesity, and revised statutes of limitations and laws regarding civil and corporate liability and wrongful life.
- Focuses on the latest developments in epigenetics, a subject that is attracting increased attention among scientists and researchers yet is practically unknown among policymakers and members of the general public
- Explains how epigenetics works, how it is related to genetics, how it differs from conventional genetics, the different kinds of epigenetic mechanisms, and the political history of genetics and epigenetics
- Addresses the latest research on epigenetics within the context of hot public policy topics such as cancer, obesity, and the environment and identifies potential policy recommendations