Epigenetics

It has been some time now since Darwin espoused his famous theory of evolution. In his seminal work On the Origin of Species, he laid out how we evolved from simple cells to complex sapiens. In his own words “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Your genes played a significant role in determining survival as it contained the code for survival. Therefore, when a theory comes along, that seems to contradict Darwin somewhat, it is close to being heretical. Epigenetics implies features that are on top of or in addition to traditional genes as a basis for inheritance. In simple terms, something in your environment caused you to react a certain way without altering the underlying genetic code.

It turns out that this is excellent news. Imagine that you are born into a family predisposed to diabetes. Several members of your family have had it in the past. Naturally, you have a high probability of also becoming diabetic. Your genetic code has to express itself for you to develop diabetes. The study of epigenetics says that you might have a window of opportunity before the code is turned on.

The opportunity presents itself in the form of your lifestyle, environment, and habits all of which collectively do or do not activate the genetic code. In fact, scientists have even shown that in some cases your cells can reprogram your genetic code as a result of its experiences. In another study, the children born to a species of rats that were predisposed to diabetes were fed a healthy meal. These rats produced offspring that were both healthy and also diabetes free showing that inheriting a genetic code is not always necessary. Didn’t you say you live for your children? Well then, acquire a healthy lifestyle; your kids will thank you for it.

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