The environment an individual finds itself in shapes not just how it looks and behaves, but also which of its genes are switched on or off.
Over time these short-term responses can determine the evolution of whole populations and even eco-systems. When an organism reacts to a change in its environment, tens of thousands of genes respond.
But until recently, scientists could only study one gene at a time. Now, with 'omic' technologies, they can study many thousands of responses simultaneously, and this is set to revolutionise NERC-funded science.