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 provides a veritable cornucopia of fresh insights into our own bodies and minds – some unsettling, some reassuring. The assumption of Epigenetic’s Science is the fact that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects are not so easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can result in such illnesses as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also describe the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants which aren’t detected by standard 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 sort of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed on between generations and decides how cells in one family will behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will react 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 inside the cell. This causes alterations in gene function and a corresponding reaction on the body. There are many ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. By way of instance, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes which 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 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 men and a condition known as”male pattern baldness” Interestingly, this isn’t the only cause of hair loss, as there are other environmental and genetic 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 concerning the effect that diet has on mice, worms, and other organisms. To start with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans has been given a high fat diet, it became obese and diabetic. Interestingly, the laboratory animals also lost muscle mass, which is indicative of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the laboratory animals were put on a special type of diet where they only received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what’s happening here, you have to take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they’re growing yeast in laboratory 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 this case, the creation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Of course, there are additional Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, such as gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they have recently established a successful clinical trial where they are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it is not your everyday normal cancer treatment. This study shows that they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
In addition to diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science can be used for other types of diseases and conditions, 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 is an exciting and very promising prospect. Just think, one day you might have the ability to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your very own drug factory!