Posts Tagged ‘nature vs. nurture’

If you are interested in genetics, evolution, nature vs. nurture, or just how your lifestyle choices may affect your children, read on. All of this is quite interesting to me, as I spent years studying evolution and genetic markers while pursuing a Zoology degree. Not to mention that “nature vs. nurture” was often a topic of discussion throughout my years working at the SPCA, as related to the behavior and history of domesticated pets.

I just read an article on a “new science” called epigenetics at Time.com (link to article is at the bottom of this post). “At its most basic, epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity that do not involve alterations to the genetic code but still get passed down to at least one successive generation.” This is beyond nature and nurture!

The studies began to look at how conditions in the womb may not only affect the health of a fetus but affect health into adulthood. Then, the researcher took it beyond that and took a look at how lifestyle and health of parents prior to a pregnancy could affect their children. “We all know that you can truncate your own life if you smoke or overeat, but it’s becoming clear that those same bad behaviors can also predispose your kids — before they are even conceived — to disease and early death. ”

This certainly gives more food for thought for those of us who knowingly partake in unhealthy habits but promise to cut it out before deciding to procreate.

Darwin wrote that it takes many generations, even millions of years for evolutionary change to take place. Data from multiple scientists collected separately over the past 20 years indicates that environmental factors can influence genes in just ONE generation…  “powerful environmental conditions (near death from starvation, for instance) can somehow leave an imprint on the genetic material in eggs and sperm.” Genes can switch on or off depending on stress and diet, etc.

On the other hand, since scientists are figuring out what causes these changes, they are also developing drugs to alter the genes from turning on or off, depending on which are “good” or “bad” genes.

Click here for the full article: Why Your DNA Isn’t Your Destiny


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