Sample Essay on Genomic Imprinting
Genomic imprinting is best described as the biological process through which a genomic domain or gene exists in an epigenetic differentiation which depends on its parent origin. This type of imprinting also ensures transposable elements stay epigenetically silenced throughout gametogenic reprogramming in order to maintain genome integrity.
Genomic imprinting is also described as inheritance process that is independent of the classical Mendelian inheritance. In Homo sapiens, imprinted alleles are silenced in a manner that the genes are expressed only from the non-imprinted allele which is inherited from the mother or in other cases from the non-imprinted allele which is inherited from the father.
While this is the case, in plants the genomic parental imprinting can refer to gene expression primarily and solely from either of the parents allele. Different genomic imprinting forms have been largely demonstrated in plants, animals and fungi.
Genomic imprinting is also described as epigenetic process that can involve histone modulation and DNA methylation for purposes of achieving monoallelic gene expression without any alteration of genetic sequence. These genes are referred to as ‘imprinted’ because one copy of the genes is epigenetically imprinted or marked wither in the sperm or the egg.
As such, the allelic expression of the imprinted gene will vary depending on whether in the previous generation it resided in the female or male. Imprinted expression also varies between the developmental stages, tissues and species.
Genomic imprinting phenomenon evolved in a common ancestor to eutherian and marsupials mammals more than 150 million years ago. As such, it can be concluded that this type of imprinting evolved in mammals with the start of live birth. Its evolution was a result of parental battle between the sexes for the control of maternal expenditure resources to the offspring’s.
The imprinted genes are often susceptible to various human pathologies because of their functional haploid state which makes it possible for epigenomic or single genomic change to dysregulate their function thus causing disastrous health effects. Often, imprinted anomalies are manifested in form of neurological and developmental disorders whenever they occur during the early developmental stages and in the form of cancer when they are altered later in life.
Specifically, imprinting disorders have are linked to Alzheimer disease, bipolar disorder, Prader-Willi and Angelman disorders, obesity, male sexual orientation, schizophrenia, and diabetes. Such disorders are also responsible for a number of cancers which include breast, cervical, bladder, lung, hepatocellular, ovarian, testicular, leukemia, prostrate and mesothelioma among others.
Genomic imprinting can also cause cloning problems with clones that have DNA that is not methylated in the appropriate position. This could be as a result of lack of time to carry out the programming appropriately.
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