Epigenetic’s Science is written by award winning author, Raoul Pedretta. Great 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 reassuring. The assumption 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 result in such disorders as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. They also clarify the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants that aren’t 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 require a constant 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 on between generations and determines how cells in one family will act in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will react when similar challenges arise in another household 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 in which Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter includes an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes which occur in all of us: puberty. The chapters comprise;”Growthal Sensitivity,””Mutations in 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 in turn, 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 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 affected 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. Specifically, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail concerning the impact 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 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 type of diet where they just received food that contained carbohydrates; they lost body fat fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what is happening here, you have to have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they’re growing yeast in laboratory cultures and watching what happens. When 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 creation of cells has been used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans possess.
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’re trying to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it is not your regular normal cancer therapy. This study shows that they are able to control and regulate cells and halt the growth of cancerous tumors.
In addition to 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’s an exciting and very promising prospect. Just think, one day you might be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your very own drug factory!