Epigenetic’s Science is composed by award winning writer, Raoul Pedretta. Good 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 comforting. 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 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 that aren’t detected by standard testing and that could cause severe health problems.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells need a constant supply of energy, and this procedure is initiated by a process referred to as”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, positive mutations accumulate over generations, and if they get together, these cells form a sort of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed between generations and decides how cells in 1 family will act 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 can 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 response on the body. There are many ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. By way of example, each chapter includes an informative section addressing one of the most common 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 them 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 then, produces DHT (which stands for”dihydrotestosterone”). DHT then binds to the hair follicles, making 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 influenced by methylation, so future research may shed even 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 rats, rodents, and other organisms. To begin with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans has been given a high fat diet, it became diabetic and obese. Interestingly, the lab animals also lost muscle mass, which is suggestive of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the laboratory animals were put on a particular type of diet where they only received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly quickly.
So as to understand what’s going on here, you have to have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they’re growing yeast in lab cultures and watching what happens. After 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 generation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Of course, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, such as gene regulation and the analysis of cancerous tumors. In fact, they have recently launched a successful clinical trial where they are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may seem, it is not your regular normal cancer therapy. This study shows they are able to control and regulate cells and halt the growth of cancerous tumors.
In addition to diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science may be used for other types of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Of course, these studies are very small so we don’t 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 be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your own drug factory!