Epigenetic’s Science is composed by award winning author, 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 own bodies and minds – some unsettling, some comforting. 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 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 regular testing and that can cause severe 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 procedure is initiated by a process referred to as”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 on between generations and decides how cells in one family will act 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 within the cell. This results in alterations in gene function and a corresponding reaction on the body. There are many 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 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 in turn, 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 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 influenced by methylation, so future research 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 only received food which contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly rapidly.
In order to understand what is happening here, you must 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 will replicate and thus create a new generation of yeast cells. In this case, the generation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Of course, there are additional Epigenetic’s Science techniques they use, including gene regulation and the analysis of cancerous tumors. In fact, they’ve recently launched a successful clinical trial where they are attempting to treat Alzheimer’s disease in mice. As exciting as that may sound, it’s 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 kinds of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Needless to say, these studies are extremely 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 be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy production; essentially creating your very own drug factory!