Homework Help

how does environmental factors affect gene expression ,give me some examples related to...

user profile pic

mahnoorfatima | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 8, 2011 at 12:55 PM via web

dislike 1 like

how does environmental factors affect gene expression ,give me some examples related to environmental factors on gene expression

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 10, 2011 at 1:54 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

Skin color is a polygenic trait, meaning more than one pair of genes determines skin color. However, it is multifactorial as well because it has a strong environmental component in the expression of the person's phenotype for skin color. If someone is in the sun very often, perhaps in a climate closer to the equator, their skin color will be affected due to more melanin  production, as compared to someone in a more northern climate with less direct insolation. Height as another genetic trait that is polygenic and multifactorial. Factors in the environment such as proper nutrition, exercise and not smoking all affect one's height. You can be born with a potential to be a certain height, but your environment will influence genetic expression also. Multifactorial traits follow a bell-shaped curve in their distribution, with most of the population around a median value and with less of the population at either extreme.  Another example would be the autoimmune disease diabetes, which is a genetic trait. If a person has the genetic potential to develop diabetes, their level of exercise, their food choices and their body weight will definitely affect gene expression for this disorder. Diet, exercise, weight, even exposure to a virus are all environmental factors that play a role in triggering this genetic condition.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes