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 provides a veritable cornucopia of fresh insights into our 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 so 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 describe the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that are not 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 sort of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed 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 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 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 frequent Epigenetic changes which exist in all people: 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 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 men and a condition known as”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 impact that diet has on the body. Specifically, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail concerning 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 diabetic and obese. Interestingly, the laboratory animals also lost muscle mass, which is suggestive of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the lab animals were put on a particular sort of diet where they only 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’re 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 production of yeast cells. In cases like this, the creation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Of course, there are additional Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, including gene regulation and the analysis of cancerous tumors. In fact, they’ve recently launched a successful clinical trial where they’re 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 that they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and stop the growth of cancerous tumors.
In addition to diabetes, Epigenetic’s Science can be used for other types of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Of course, these studies are very small so we do not have much of a sense of what they will mean for human health. Still, it’s 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!