Epigenetics News

Epigenetics: Inheritance of acquired traits gradually gaining acceptance

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A survey article in Nature discusses the growth of interest in epigenetics (non-Darwinian inheritance of traits), noting that one barrier to its acceptance is that we don’t know how the mechanism actually works:

Male rats fed a high-fat diet, for example, beget daughters with abnormal DNA methylation in the pancreas. Male mice fed a low-protein diet have offspring with altered liver expression of cholesterol genes3. And male mice with pre-diabetes have abnormal sperm methylation, and pass on an increased risk of diabetes to the next two generations.

“We and many other people have now shown these paternal effects,” says Rando, who led the low-protein study. “And we’re all having a hell of a time figuring out how they work.”

Some teams hope to be getting closer. In one study on inherited fear in mice,

Dias and Ressler do not claim to understand exactly what is going on, but they do have a working hypothesis. Somehow, the information about the frightening smell gets into a mouse’s testes and results in lower methylation of the Olfr151 gene in sperm DNA. The researchers even ran experiments using in vitro fertilization to make sure that the father was not in some way passing on a fear of acetophenone through interactions with the mother. The epigenetic tweak in the sperm is perpetuated in the offspring’s DNA, leading to increased expression of the receptor in the animals’ noses and, ultimately, enhanced sensitivity to the smell.

But much more work remains. What’s really significant is, “Although many are scratching their heads over the holes in the proposed mechanism, few are suggesting that the underlying phenomenon is a fairy tale.”

Lamarck was right, apparently, but he didn’t have a pressure group behind him.

See also: Epigenetics: Possible reason Mice are so timorous

Epigenetics: A look at a pioneer and his field

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3 Replies to “Epigenetics: Inheritance of acquired traits gradually gaining acceptance

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    Its not impossible a bad smell can get into the memory and this trigger the body system. Remember no people have ever smelled anything. We only use our memory which has done the smelling. Thats why people and animals have great memories of smells even not smelled for years. Are souls have no contact with the world through our senses. only through our memory of the senses.

    Anyways its important if traits are being passed on by new acquired traits by the parents. surely this is not welcome to evolutionism and its mecghanism suggest more mechanisms are hiding in biology.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    I have a strong suspicion that the biggest obstacle to the widespread acceptance of epigenetics is that it compromises core Darwinian claims. Namely epigentics directly challenges the central dogma of the modern synthesis which undergirds neo-Darwinian thought:

    The Mysterious Epigenome. What lies beyond DNA – Thomas Woodward – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpXs8uShFMo

    “The Mysterious Epigenome: What Lies Beyond DNA” – May 2012 – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....7_28-07_00

    What is even more troubling for neo-Darwinists is, not only are transgenerational changes inherited apart from DNA (as troubling as that is for the central dogma),,,

    “One of the mechanisms, referred to as epigenetics, involves small chemical tags, such as methyl groups, attached to DNA or its histone packaging proteins.”
    Cornelius Hunter

    ,,,What is even more troubling for neo-Darwinists is that transgenerational changes can be environmentally induced all the way down to directly modifying the DNA of a genome,,

    Non-Random and Targeted Mutations (Environmentally induced changes to the level of DNA, 6:34 minute mark of video) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTChu5vX1VI

    Flax: More Falsifications of Evolution and the Real Warfare Thesis – Cornelius Hunter – 2011
    Excerpt: The latest paper deals with flax plants which, when grown under stressful conditions, modify their genome. The genomic changes help the plant to thrive under the new conditions, and the changes are passed on to the progeny. The flax plant’s genomic changes are not just a lucky strike—the same precise additions, in the same precise location, occur when the experiment is repeated. For the changes are “the result of a targeted, highly specific, complex insertion event.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ution.html

    These findings are a direct contradiction of the modern synthesis (central dogma) of neo-Darwinism,,

    Does the central dogma still stand? – Koonin EV. – 23 August 2012
    Excerpt: Thus, there is non-negligible flow of information from proteins to the genome in modern cells, in a direct violation of the Central Dogma of molecular biology. The prion-mediated heredity that violates the Central Dogma appears to be a specific, most radical manifestation of the widespread assimilation of protein variation into genetic variation. The epigenetic variation precedes and facilitates genetic adaptation through a general ‘look-ahead effect’ of phenotypic mutations.,,,
    Conclusions:
    The Central Dogma of molecular biology is refuted by genetic assimilation of prion-dependent phenotypic heredity. This phenomenon is likely to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg,,,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC3472225/

    How life changes itself: The Read–Write (RW) genome – James A. Shapiro – 2013
    Excerpt: Research dating back to the 1930s has shown that genetic change is the result of cell-mediated processes, not simply accidents or damage to the DNA. This cell-active view of genome change applies to all scales of DNA sequence variation, from point mutations to large-scale genome rearrangements and whole genome duplications (WGDs).
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....4513000869

    also see J.Shapiro, “Revisiting the Central Dogma”, and D.Nobel, “Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology”.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    But the most exciting finding from epigenetics is that ‘mental states’ are now found to have a pronounced effect on gene expression:

    Genie In Your Genes – video
    http://www.genieinyourgenes.com/ggtrailer.html

    Anxiety May Shorten Your Cell Life – July 12, 2012
    Excerpt: These studies had the advantage of large data sets involving thousands of participants.
    If the correlations remain robust in similar studies, it would indicate that mental states and lifestyle choices can produce epigenetic effects on our genes.
    http://crev.info/2012/07/anxie.....cell-life/

    Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, – December 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,”,,,
    “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,”,,,
    the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.
    http://www.tunedbody.com/scien.....ges-genes/

    This finding is in direct contradiction to the materialistic assumption that we are merely helpless ‘victims of our genes’, victims who are forever trapped in whatever misfortune our genes happen to throw at us.

    Of related note:

    The health benefits of happiness – Mark Easton – 2006
    Excerpt: “It’s not just that if you’re physically well you’re likely to be happy but actually the opposite way round,” said Dr Cox.
    (Extensive studies show that) “If you are happy you are (much more) likely in the future to have less in the way of physical illness than those who are unhappy”.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/pro.....924180.stm

    Verse and Music:

    Proverbs 17:22
    A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

    High School Musical 2 – You are the music in me
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAXaQrh7m1o

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