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 offers a veritable cornucopia of new insights into our bodies and minds – some unsettling, some reassuring. The assumption of Epigenetic’s Science is 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 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 require a continuous 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 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 a different 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 response on the body. There are a number of ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. By way of example, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most common 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 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 then, 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 a condition called”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 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 concerning the effect that diet has on mice, worms, and other organisms. To begin with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans was given a high fat diet, it became obese and diabetic. Interestingly, the laboratory 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 just received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what is happening here, you have to 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 is going to replicate and thus create a new production of yeast cells. In this case, the creation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Needless to say, there are additional 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 in which they are trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may seem, it’s not your regular normal cancer treatment. This study shows that they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and halt 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 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 could be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your own drug factory!