The Effects of Chromatin and Epigenetics on Cancer and Tumorigenesis

Peyton Fischer


For decades, it’s been believed that genetic and environmental factors primarily increase one’s risks of getting cancer – but what if there’s more? It’s common knowledge that environmental factors affect one’s chances of getting cancer – but there is also evidence to support that heritable genetic changes affect these chances as well. Because chromatin has been found to bring about mutations that bring cancer, chromatin and these epigenetic factors provide many paths and “on/off switches” for gene expression (Flahavan et al.). Typically, chromatin and epigenetic mechanisms serve to keep genes in check and stabilize them, but Flahavan et al. research whether or not the combination of certain states of chromatin combined with epigenetic mechanism actually lead to tumorigenesis, or the formation of tumors. Chromatin and its different states have the possibility of providing or preventing the introduction of tumors. These permissive or restrictive states of chromatin can make one’s epigenetic genome one that may or may not provide the proper landscape for the development of cancer. Flavahan et al.’s research on “Epigenetic plasticity and the hallmarks of cancer” has the capacity to provide people with all of the information needed for people to make choices for themselves and, simultaneously, their descendants for generations after.

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