Epigenetic’s Science is written by award winning author, 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 offers a veritable cornucopia of fresh insights into our own 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 so easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can lead to 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 regular 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 continuous supply of energy, and this procedure is initiated by a process called”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, favorable mutations accumulate over generations, and if they get together, these cells form a type of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed between generations and decides how cells in one 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 inside the cell. This results in alterations in gene function and a corresponding reaction on the body. There are a number of ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For example, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes which occur in all people: puberty. The chapters comprise;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations in 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, making it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots. This causes baldness in men and a condition known as”male pattern baldness” Interestingly, this is not 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 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 rats, rodents, 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 lab 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’s happening here, you must have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Basically, they are 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 production of yeast cells. In cases like this, the creation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
Needless to say, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques they use, including gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they have recently established a successful clinical trial where they’re trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it is not your everyday normal cancer therapy. This study shows that they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
Besides diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science may be used for other kinds of diseases and conditions, 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 is an exciting and very promising prospect. Just think, one day you could be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your very own drug factory!