What is Epigenetics?
“The difference between genetics and epigenetics can probably be compared to the difference between writing and reading a book. Once a book is written, the text (the genes or DNA: stored information) will be the same in all the copies distributed to the interested audience. However, each individual reader of a given book may interpret the story slightly differently, with varying emotions and projections as they continue to unfold the chapters. In a very similar manner, epigenetics would allow different interpretations of a fixed template (the book or genetic code) and result in different read-outs, dependent upon the variable conditions under which this template is interrogated.” – Thomas Jenuwein (Vienna, Austria)
From Dr. Bruce Lipton’s article here:
 the notion of the Primacy of DNA has been soundly challenged by current research which reveals that the existence of a self-regulatory property for genes is a patently incorrect assumption. An important article by H. F. Nijhout (Metaphors and the Role of Genes in Development, BioEssays 12:441, 1990) describes how concepts concerning genetic “controls” and “programs” were originally conceived as a metaphor to help define and direct avenues of research. Widespread repetition of this compelling hypothesis over time has resulted in the “metaphor of the model” becoming the “truth of the mechanism,” despite the absence of substantiative supporting evidence.
Nijhout elegantly and succinctly redefined the truth as follows, “When a gene product is needed, a signal from its environment, not a self-emergent property of the gene itself, activates expression of that gene (emphasis mine).” Simply stated, a gene can not turn itself on or off, it is dependent upon a signal from its environment to control its expression. Genes are indeed involved with the structure and behavior of an organism, however they are not the source of “control.”
Gene expression is under the influence of specialized proteins referred to as regulatory proteins. Regulatory proteins bind to DNA and mask the activity of genes. In order to activate a specific gene, its regulatory proteins must be removed from the DNA strand. The binding and release of DNA regulatory proteins is controlled by “environmental” signals. Rather than recognizing the Primacy of DNA, it is more correct to acknowledge the Primacy of the Environment as causal in shaping biological expression.