The journey of our genetic material

Readingtime 3 minutes

Classical genetics explains how genetic material is transmitted from one generation to the next. However, the environment also has a demonstrable influence on genetic information. Methyl groups that activate or repress individual genes play an important role in these epigenetic mechanisms

publication date14TH September 2021


Human DNA is located in the cell nucleus of stem cells, distributed over 46 chromosomes. The DNA strand in the x-shaped chromosomes is wound around protein coils, the histones, like a power cable around a cable drum. This is exactly where a fascinating process takes place under the influence of methyl groups: The docking or undocking of the methyl groups on the DNA decides whether environmental influences such as diseases or hunger remain in the genome of a person and are thus passed on through generations. But what exactly happens on the DNA strand? And why is it that some environmental influences shape the genome over the long term and some don’t? An explanatory video provides answers.


12th September 2022


More knowledge, improved animal welfare

Epigenetics reveal the environmental factors that affect the genetic material of chickens.


Milestones of research

A look back at almost 350 years of biotechnology—from the beginnings of microscopy to the discovery of DNA and genetic scissors.

Pharma Polymers

Transport without Side Effects

Drug delivery—on the art of transporting active pharmaceutical ingredients to specific targets in the human body.

Animal nutrition

Insects as animal feed

The larvae of the black soldier fly are packed full of protein – and offer a source of hope for climate and environmental protection.

ELEMENTS Newsletter
Get fascinating insights into the research Evonik is conducting, and its social relevance, by subscribing to our free newsletter.