Epigenetic’s Science is written by award winning writer, Raoul Pedretta. Great bye, genetically encoded genes… the first book in the exciting new field of epigenetic biology for general readers. The surging new science of epigenetic genetics provides a veritable cornucopia of new insights into our bodies and minds – some unsettling, some reassuring. The premise of Epigenetic’s Science is the fact that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects aren’t very easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can lead to such disorders as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also describe the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that aren’t detected by regular testing and that could cause severe health issues.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells require a continuous supply of energy, and this procedure is initiated by a process called”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, positive mutations accumulate over generations, and when they get together, these cells form a type of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed on between generations and determines how cells in 1 family will behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will respond when similar challenges arise in another family member.
When methylation is induced in a cell, the result may be a whole gamut of changes on the cell surface and in the biochemical pathways within the cell. This results in alterations in gene function and a corresponding reaction physically. There are a number of ways in which Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter contains an informative section covering among the most frequent Epigenetic changes that occur in all of us: puberty. The chapters include;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations at Birth,”” hormonal changes,””perinatal development,””adolescent-onset diabetes,” and”nutrition.” I enjoyed each of these and found them to be very interesting and educational.
As you know, during adolescence, the body increases its production of estrogen (in anticipation of future pregnancy), and in turn, produces DHT (which stands for”dihydrotestosterone”). DHT then binds to the hair follicles, which makes it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in a condition known as”male pattern baldness.” Interestingly, this isn’t the only cause of hair loss, as there are other genetic and environmental factors that contribute to hair loss. Epigenetic science goes a step further and suggests that these other causes of hair loss may also be influenced by methylation, so future research may shed more light on Epigenetic’s Science.
The next topic that Epigenetic’s Science touches on is the impact that diet has on the body. Specifically, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail about the impact that diet has on mice, worms, and other organisms. To begin with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans was given a high fat diet, it became obese and diabetic. Interestingly, the laboratory animals also lost muscle mass, which is suggestive of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the laboratory animals were put on a special sort of diet where they just received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly rapidly.
So as to understand what is going on here, you must have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they are growing yeast in lab cultures and watching what happens. When the yeast grows to a certain point, it is going to replicate and thus create a new generation of yeast cells. In cases like this, the generation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Needless to say, there are additional Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, such as gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they’ve recently launched a successful clinical trial in which they are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may seem, it’s not your everyday normal cancer therapy. This study shows they are able to control and regulate cells and halt the growth of cancerous tumors.
Besides diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science may be used for other kinds of diseases and ailments, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Of course, these studies are extremely small so we don’t have much of a sense of what they will mean for human health. Still, it’s an exciting and very promising prospect. Just think, one day you might be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your very own drug factory!