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 provides a veritable cornucopia of new insights into our own bodies and minds – some unsettling, some comforting. 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 describe the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants which aren’t detected by regular testing and that can 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 referred to as”mimetic induction”. Through natural selection, positive mutations accumulate over generations, and if they get together, these cells form a type of cellular memory, or methylation state. This methylation state is passed 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 can 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 physically. There are a number of ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For instance, each chapter includes an informative section addressing one of the most frequent Epigenetic changes that exist 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 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 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 research might shed even 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 about the effect that diet has on mice, worms, and other organisms. To begin with, one interesting finding was that when the worm C. elegans has been given a high fat diet, it became diabetic and obese. Interestingly, the laboratory animals also lost muscle mass, which is indicative of insulin resistance. In another experiment, the lab animals were put on a special type of diet where they just received food that contained carbohydrates; they lost body weight fairly quickly.
So as to understand what’s happening here, you have to take a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they are 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 production of yeast cells. In cases like this, the generation 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, such as 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 seem, it’s 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 may be used for other kinds of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancer. Of course, these studies are extremely 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 might be able to grow your own cells for immune system support and energy generation; essentially creating your very own drug factory!