Epigenetic’s Science is written 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 that environmental exposures can have long lasting effects on cellular function. Some of these effects are not 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 clarify the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants which aren’t detected by regular testing and that can cause serious health problems.
Like all living systems, cells are constantly changing and grow, divide and die. All cells require a constant supply of energy, and this process 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 type of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed 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 results in alterations in gene function and a corresponding reaction physically. There are many ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most common Epigenetic changes that exist 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 then, 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 men and a condition known as”male pattern baldness.” Interestingly, this isn’t the only cause of hair loss, since 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 research may shed even more light on Epigenetic’s Science.
The next topic that Epigenetic’s Science touches on is the effect that diet has on the body. In particular, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail concerning the impact 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 diabetic and obese. 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 fat fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what’s happening here, you have to take 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 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 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 everyday normal cancer therapy. 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 kinds of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Needless to say, 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 could have the ability to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your very own drug factory!