Epigenetic’s Science is composed by award winning writer, 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 offers a veritable cornucopia of fresh insights into our 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 clarify the surprising effect of”epigenetic pollution,” environmental contaminants which are not 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 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 1 family will behave in response to environmental challenges and how those cells will respond 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 many ways that Epigenetic’s Science presents the science of Epigenetics. For example, each chapter contains an informative section covering among the most frequent Epigenetic changes that occur 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 these 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 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 isn’t the only cause of hair loss, since 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 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. In particular, Epigenetic’s Science goes into detail concerning the effect that diet has on mice, worms, 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 indicative 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 have a look at the Epigenetic’s Science methodology. Fundamentally, they are growing yeast in laboratory cultures and watching what happens. After the yeast grows to a certain point, it is going to replicate and thus create a new generation of yeast cells. In this case, the creation of cells was used to study insulin resistance, something that we humans have.
Of course, there are other Epigenetic’s Science techniques that they use, such as gene regulation and the study of cancerous tumors. In fact, they have recently established 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 regular normal cancer treatment. This study shows that they are able to manipulate and regulate cells and halt 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’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 production; essentially creating your own drug factory!