Epigenetic’s Science is composed by award winning author, 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 offers a veritable cornucopia of fresh 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 which 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 need a constant supply of energy, and this process is initiated by a process called”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, favorable 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 between generations and determines how cells in one family will behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will respond when similar challenges arise in a different household 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 inside the cell. This results in alterations in gene function and a corresponding response physically. There are a number of ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes which occur in all of us: puberty. The chapters comprise;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations at Birth,”” hormonal changes,””perinatal development,””adolescent-onset diabetes,” and”nutrition.” I enjoyed each of them and found them to be quite 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 subsequently 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, since 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 affected by methylation, so future study might 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 effect that diet has on mice, worms, and other organisms. To start 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 lab animals were put on a special sort of diet where they only received food that contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly quickly.
In order to understand what is going on here, you must have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Basically, they’re growing yeast in lab cultures and watching what happens. When the yeast grows to a certain point, it will replicate and thus create a new generation of yeast cells. In cases like this, the creation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Of course, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques they use, including gene regulation and the analysis of cancerous tumors. In actuality, they have recently launched a successful clinical trial where they are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it’s not your regular normal cancer treatment. This study shows they are able to control and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
Besides diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science may be used for other types of diseases and ailments, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Needless to say, these studies are very small so we do not 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 production; essentially creating your very own drug factory!