Getting to know GENIE (Genomic Expression: Inflammation Explained).
In the end, gene expression, the result of genes in our DNA being turned on or off, remains the fundamental mechanism that lets DNA respond to stimuli from its environment. DNA controls our biology by differential gene activation /suppression. Study of gene activation is called transcriptomics.
Genes are turned on and off to maintain health. If there is no protective host response to disease-producing agents, including environmental stressors, illness will follow. When the DNA responses have done their job, then the gene activation must be stopped, waiting for the next call to arms.
Persistent or unwanted host protective responses can be harmful (Thomas, NEJM 1972 Germ) if the host response involves inflammation. Inflammation is the sum of chemical, cellular and transcriptomic responses to pathogenic organisms and substances. What distinguishes harmful host responses from not-harmful involves the concept of regulation of gene expression. Is a gene overly activated when it shouldn’t be? Suppressed when it should be activated?
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