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 new 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 are not very easy to reverse and the authors describe how”epigenetic inheritance” can result in such disorders as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also clarify the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that are not detected by standard testing and that can cause serious 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 referred to as”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 on between generations and decides how cells in one family will act in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will respond 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 response on the body. There are a number of 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 common Epigenetic changes that exist 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 a condition called”male pattern baldness.” Interestingly, this is not 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 influenced by methylation, so future study might 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. Specifically, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail concerning 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 sort of diet where they just received food that contained carbohydrates; they lost body fat fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what’s going on here, you have to take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they are 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 cases like this, the generation 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, such as gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they’ve recently launched a successful clinical trial in which they are attempting 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 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 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 might have the ability to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your own drug factory!