Evidence continues to accumulate regarding epigenetic changes and cancer. A May 30, 2014 article in ScienceDaily reports on a breast cancer study finding epigenetic differences between cancerous and non-cancerous breast tissue. The differences involve “methylation,” which essentially boils down to chemical changes that can turn a gene on or off, and thus turn on or off its production of a protein. The full text article is freely available because it’s in PLoS One, which is the world’s largest peer reviewed, open access journal that started in 2006 with support from various sources, including Gordon Moore (of Moore’s fame). See Ayelet Avraham, Sean Soonweng Cho, Ronit Uhlmann, Mia Leonov Polak, Judith Sandbank, Tami Karni, Itzhak Pappo, Ruvit Halperin, Zvi Vaknin, Avishay Sella, Saraswati Sukumar, Ella Evron. Tissue Specific DNA Methylation in Normal Human Breast Epithelium and in Breast Cancer. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (3): e91805 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091805
The relevance to lawyers? As this study shows, epigenetic changes can be found and proven. One of the next steps will involve experiments to find the source of the changes – that is, another step towards understanding and proving the presence or absence of causation by external or internal sources.