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Saint Helena Virtual Forum

Epigenetics and Gender
How Your Behaviors And Environment Can Cause Changes That Affect The Way Your Genes Work 

Dr. Sanbonmatsu earned her PhD in astro-physical sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, and then joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory. There she became interested in…”what distinguishes life from matter.” The Sanbonmatsu Laboratory was established in 2001 as the field of epigenetics was beginning to develop. Karissa realized that RNA could be involved in how genes are turned on and off and since that time she has been a leading figure on the mechanisms of long non-coding RNA complexes. These are functional RNA molecules that don't translate into proteins, rather they play vital roles in cellular processes. Of particular interest to the Forum, as our first symposium Gender Matters was canceled in 2020 by Covid, Karissa has also written about gynandromorphism, an organism that contains both male and female characteristics, how DNA influences hormones, but also how hormones can reprogram DNA.  

Dr. Betsy Bates Freed

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