What is Epigenetics? Each cell in our body contains 24,000 or so genes that make us who we are 1.
The genes in our cells aren’t always active. They are either turned on or off to direct the cells into becoming the building blocks of our bodies. Our bodies and who we are, including how we look, sound, and behave, are based on how our genes are activated in each cell. Our basic genetic makeup is called our genotype. How our genes are turned on or off and become perceivable is our phenotype. Think of your genotype as a beloved storybook with printed words, patterns, and pictures that exist permanently on the pages. Now imagine reading that story night after night to a child. You create the story for them as you go, perhaps describing the pictures, using voices for different characters, maybe even embellishing a point or two to create a unique ending. The story may change each time you read it. The story you weave is like the phenotype. The story may change for your child depending on how you tell it (phenotype) even though the printed pages (genotype) remain the same.