Tuesday, 06 September 2016 01:18

What is... Epigenetics?

Rats - different due to nutritional differences in the womb Rats - different due to nutritional differences in the womb

In the article "Genetic- vs Lifestyle Disorders" I already covered the Human Genome Project in quite some detail and concluded that, to the surprise of the scientific community, the aberrant genes causing the serious disorders of mankind simply do not exist and that slowly but surely, evidence is emerging that epigenetic changes can alter the way genes are activated or silenced. This knowledge that one can influence one´s own genome is extremely important, since a person can take charge of his mental- and physical health to a substantial degree and is the basic reason why I am writing all these words on this page.   

In recent years, attention has increasingly turned away from DNA's code and toward the way that DNA is packaged and the proteins that interact with it. These so-called epigenetic factors are heritable, reversible, and hugely influential. When it comes to DNA, the way it is packaged is as important as the code. Over the last few decades, epigenetics has become a hot scientific topic. In my view however, for us laymen, it hardly has benefit to delve into the depth of Molecular Biology and learn about chromosones,  histones and all that jazz and still understand the message it brings.
 
The message can be simply brought as follows:  
 
This movie-based analogy might help understand the role of epigenetics: if we imagine the human life span to be a long movie, the cells are the actors and actresses. DNA is the script, telling the actors what to do. The words in the script are the DNA sequence, and the stage directions in the script, that give specific commands to the actors, which are the genes.
 
In this scenario, epigenetics is the director. The script can remain the same, but the director, which is YOU and ME have the power to remove certain scenes or sections of dialogue.

For completeness sake, maybe its good to re-iterate the definition of Epigenetics which can be found at Wikipedia before I would like to give the baton to the REAL experts...

Epigenetic mechanismsIn the science of genetics, epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological phenotypic trait variations that result from external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off and affect how cells express genes. Hence, epigenetic research seeks to describe dynamic alterations in the transcriptional potential of a cell. These alterations may or may not be heritable, and THEREFORE the use of the term epigenetic to describe processes that are heritable is controversial. Unlike genetics based on changes to the DNA sequence (the genotype), the changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype of epigenetics have other causes, thus use of the prefix epi- (Greek: επί- over, outside of, around) Just to conclude- those "change processes" are biologically done through methylation. 
In biological systems, methylation is catalyzed by enzymes; such methylation can be involved in modification of heavy metals, regulation of gene expression, regulation of protein function, and RNA processing.
 
Anyway- I have read quite a few articles on the subject of Epigenetics off late- the simplest and best understandable, was an article written by Konstantin Eriksen, which is highly quoted by other scientists and MD´s.
 

The Science Of Epigenetics – How Our Minds Can Reprogram Our Genes

How much control do we have over our own lives? Are we really controlled by our genes, trapped in our own selfishness, like some modern authors want us to believe? Just how much power do we have to shape our lives and those of others?
Contrary to what many people are being led to believe, a lot of the emphasis placed on genes determining human behaviour is nothing but theory and doctrine. The “selfish gene” model is an assumption, it is not a scientific fact.
What Is The Central Dogma?
The central dogma is the doctrine that information in our cells flows only in one direction – from DNA to RNA to proteins. Simply put, it is a dogmatic belief in absolute determinism.
Let’s take a quick look at its history. Back in 1990, a huge, international research program began – the human genome project. Its stated goals were to map out all human genes and their interactions using computer software and then to convert that knowledge into (profitable) “benefits” for mankind, such as finding cures for the most horrible diseases.
They sure made it sound good and they spent a lot of taxpayers’ money on it, but was the whole project used for good? Personally, I don’t think so. In essence, what the central dogma says is that since it is proteins that carry out the essential life-processes inside our cells, and their functions can only do what our genes say (this is what the medical establishment and certain fanatical branches of evolution theory want us to believe), then we humans are nothing more than the calculated, deterministic expression of our genes. We’re little robots whose biology, emotions, health and beliefs are not of our choosing. We’re humatons! 
This is the theory that is being taught in medical schools and universities all over the world today. Fortunately for all conscious people, this disempowering belief has been proven to be false.
Is Evolution Deterministic?
Fifty years before the publication of Darwin’s The Origin Of Species, frenchman Jean Baptiste Lamarque postulated that living beings must have an innate perception of their environment in order to evolve, and that they evolve in response to changes in their surroundings. His idea was that genetic mutations are definitely not random. There is an inherent intelligence at play in life that we can’t even begin to understand.
The response of the “scientific community” at the time was not favourable. They ridiculed Lamarque’s theory and eliminated him from the history books, giving Darwin the sole credit for discovering evolution, even though, in reality, Darwin published his book fifty years after Lamarque and his book based a lot of its theory on the work of yet another man, Alfred Russel Wallace, many of whose ideas Darwin copied.
According to Lamarque, there is an interplay of forces between living beings and their environments. According to the Darwinian model, evolution is strictly deterministic and is based on random mutations.
So, who got closer to the truth? Luckily for us, Lamarque was right about at least one thing: cells have consciousness.
 
The Emerging Science Of Epigenetics
Plenty of highly intelligent biologists have proven beyond a doubt that the determinism of the central dogma is false. Genes do not determine human outcomes – it is our responses to our environment that actually determine the expression of our genes.
This was proven definitively in 1988 by British molecular biologist John Cairns. Cairns took bacteria whose genes did not allow them to produce lactase, the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar, and placed them in petri dishes where the only food present was lactase. Much to his astonishment, within a few days, all of the petri dishes had been colonized by the bacteria and they were eating lactose. The bacterial DNA had changed in response to its environment.
This experiment has been replicated many times and they have not found a better explanation than this obvious fact – that even primitive organisms can evolve consciously.
So, information flows in both directions, from DNA to proteins and from proteins to DNA, contradicting the “central dogma.” Genes can be activated and de-activated by signals from the environment. The consciousness of the cell is inside the cell’s membrane. Each and every cell in our bodies has a type of consciousness. Genes change their expression depending on what is happening outside our cells and even outside our bodies.
 
What Does This Mean For Us?
DerSiegUeberDieGeneWe are free to make decisions that impact our lives and those of others. We are not robots carrying out the commands our genes. Our beliefs can change our biology. We have the power to heal ourselves, increase our feelings of self-worth and improve our emotional state. Every aspect of our lives can be improved with the right intention.
The worst thing we can do as thinking and feeling people is to get cut off from our deep, positive emotions and let fear and anger take over our lives. When we allow ourselves to be taken over by negativity, we are putting ourselves in a mental-biological state of fear akin to the fight or flight response.
In order to grow positively as human beings, we need to express positive emotions such as love, affection, joy and a will to conquer ourselves and our own lives. When we change our beliefs, we change our emotional states. When that happens, we change our lives.
First we have to believe. Only then do we give ourselves the opportunity to achieve.
 
Special mention I should also make of an article which appeared in the German "De Spiegel", which can be seen as the German version of Times or Newsweek. The author- Jörg Blech- a critical medical science journalist, brought many examples from several groups of scientists proving the theories, which are "in a simple form" stated above. One of them was the story of rats which were fed in different fashions in their mother´s womb, through different diets for the mother rats-
Mercola on this study:
Epigenetic research from 2009 showed that rat fetuses receiving poor nutrition in the womb become genetically primed for a nutrition-poor environment. As a result of this genetic adaptation, the rats tended to be smaller. They were also at higher risk for a host of health problems throughout their lives, such as diabetes, growth retardation, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and neurodevelopmental delays. Again, while some are tempted to blame such "predispositions" on bad genes, the KEY factor is nutrition, i.e. the cellular environment.
 One of the many excellent Joseph Mercola articles on Epigenics, you will find as an attachment below and for German speakers- "Der Spiegel" article referred to above. Just that you are informed about other views also, I suggest you review a "Scienceblog" article from 2013 on all this quackery Laughing..article title- Epigenetics- You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means
 
 
Last modified on Sunday, 29 January 2017 19:34

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