Monday, January 18, 2010


I found this article on epigenetics to be very interesting... The epigenome forms a set of control switches for the expressions of genes in DNA. If DNA is the computer, the epigenome is the software.

Quoteth (on a study of men and the Y-chromosome):

In other words, you can change your epigenetics even when you make a dumb decision at 10 years old. If you start smoking then, you may have made not only a medical mistake but a catastrophic genetic mistake.

The gist of the story is that they are studying groups of people to determine if their diet/habits/etc can impact their offspring. Up until the 1990s, the dominant thinking was that children are impacted by genetics and their environment. Not so: though Darwinian theory reigns supreme for DNA, the epigenome may prove to be sensitive to Lamarckian-like changes.


Binky said...

I heard a couple of years ago about some speculation of damage that birth fathers could cause in unborn children through their own drinking and drug use.

I didn't really believe t at the time, but it would support this idea of it being possible to re-write some lines of code that the DNA uses.


JLC said...

PBS did a NOVA episode on this recently too...very interesting. They actually looked at diets/lifestyle of people who lived through the Great Depression and their offspring.