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 offers a veritable cornucopia of new insights into our bodies and minds – some unsettling, some reassuring. The assumption 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 serious health issues.
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, favorable 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 on between generations and determines 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 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 in which Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For example, each chapter contains an informative section addressing one of the most common Epigenetic changes which exist in all of us: puberty. The chapters include;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations in 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 called”male pattern baldness” Interestingly, this is not 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 influenced by methylation, so future study may shed 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 about the impact that diet has on rats, rodents, and other organisms. To start 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 quickly.
In order to understand what is going on here, you have to take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they’re growing yeast in laboratory cultures and watching what happens. After the yeast grows to a certain point, it will replicate and thus create a new production of yeast cells. In cases like this, the generation 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, including gene regulation and the analysis of cancerous tumors. In actuality, they’ve recently launched a successful clinical trial where they are attempting 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 can be used for other kinds of diseases and ailments, 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 could have the ability to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your own drug factory!