Epigenetics Intelligent Design

What if epigenetics turns out to be useful in treating disability?

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Well, they are trying it in mice:

Using a targeted gene epigenome editing approach in the developing mouse brain, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers reversed one gene mutation that leads to the genetic disorder WAGR syndrome, which causes intellectual disability and obesity in people. This specific editing was unique in that it changed the epigenome — how the genes are regulated — without changing the actual genetic code of the gene being regulated.

The researchers found that this gene, C11orf46, is an important regulator during brain development. Specifically, it turns on and off the direction-sensing proteins that help guide the long fibers growing out of newly formed neurons responsible for sending electrical messages, helping them form into a bundle, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain. Failure to properly form this bundled structure, known as the corpus callosum, can lead to conditions such as intellectual disability, autism or other brain developmental disorders.

“Although this work is early, these findings suggest that we may be able to develop future epigenome editing therapies that could help reshape the neural connections in the brain, and perhaps prevent developmental disorders of the brain from occurring,” says Atsushi Kamiya, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The study was published online in the September 11 issue of Nature Communications.Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Genetic brain disorder fixed in mice using precision epigenome editing” at ScienceDaily

Paper. (open access)

If this stuff holds up, was Lamarck still as wrong as generations of Darwinists made him out to be?

See also: At the Scientist: The epigenetic couch potato mouse debuts. Why the sea is boiling hot: It’s not just that Darwinian evolution is not being demonstrated to any degree but that a lot of NON-Darwinian evolution IS being demonstrated.

and

Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!

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18 Replies to “What if epigenetics turns out to be useful in treating disability?

  1. 1
    Ed George says:

    If this stuff holds up, was Lamarck still as wrong as generations of Darwinists made him out to be?

    Yes, because you still need the underlying genome for this to be effective.

    But this does raise the question of whether holistic and naturopathic “medicine” functions by triggering the epigenetic expression (or suppression) of various traits.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    If this stuff holds up, was Lamarck still as wrong as generations of Darwinists made him out to be?

    “This stuff” proves that Darwin wasn’t even wrong. Given his way of thinking had he known about molecular biology he wouldn’t have proposed his “dangerous idea”. He would have saw it as absurd from the start.

    Epigenetics also casts doubt on the naming of species based on fossils alone. Given neoteny one species can be made into two different species, as was once done with the Axolotl.

  3. 3
    Latemarch says:

    ET@2

    “This stuff” proves that Darwin wasn’t even wrong. Given his way of thinking had he known about molecular biology he wouldn’t have proposed his “dangerous idea”. He would have saw it as absurd from the start.

    I don’t know about that. People propose amazingly absurd ideas to avoid design and thus God. Admit it, you’ve seen it here from some of our esteemed respondents.

  4. 4
    Mimus says:

    If this stuff holds up, was Lamarck still as wrong as generations of Darwinists made him out to be?

    Lamarckism claims it’s possible for offspring to inherit traits their parents aqcuired during life (rather than inherited at birth).

    This study is about altering the epigenetic marks in one cell type by editing a gene, inherited at birth.

    So, nothing lamarkian here I’m afraid.

    The many meanings of epigenetic can be confusing, but I do find it extraordinary that someone can make this same error do frequently and never correct themselves

  5. 5
    Latemarch says:

    Mimus @4

    Lamarckism claims it’s possible for offspring to inherit traits their parents aqcuired during life (rather than inherited at birth)

    Which we now know is true. The epigenetic markers or attachments alter the regulation of genes and are inherited. It says nothing about their permanence or persistence of that inheritance only about the next generation.

    This study is about altering the epigenetic marks in one cell type by editing a gene, inherited at birth.

    No, they are editing the epigenetic markers not the underlying genetic material inherited at birth. The difference is subtle but Lamarkian.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    Latemarch, yes, you are right. But it’s always better to have the evidence than the dance of lies.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Mimus says:

    No, they are editing the epigenetic markers not the underlying genetic material inherited at birth. The difference is subtle but Lamarkian.

    The press release does describe the research very accurately. They do a lot of different, including altering histone methylation to down-regulate a gene. But this is all based on recreating the phenotype caused by an existing genetic mutant and there is no transgenerational inheritance. So, it’s certainly not Lamarkian and goes further to show how much of the epigenetic (in the sense of DNA and histone modification) regulation of our genome is itself encoded by genetics.

    There are a handful of examples of transgenerational inheritence of these modifications, especially in plants. Even thoose examples are not much like Lamark’s version of inheritence (remembering Darwin and almost everyoene else belived in the inhertience of acquired characteristics in the 19th century)

  9. 9
    Latemarch says:

    Mimus:
    “But this is all based on recreating the phenotype caused by an existing genetic mutant and there is no transgenerational inheritance.”

    Actually not sure about that as I’m not sure they even tried to see whether or not the next generation inherited the histone modifications.
    Otherwise I think I agree with almost all you said. It’s certainly true that a lot of regulation of the genome happens in the genome. However, there is also no doubt that the Proteome also plays a critical role in signaling as well as modification of the epigenome that again can be potentially passed on to the next generation.

  10. 10
    Sven Mil says:

    Lamarck vs Darwin refers to the primary mechanism by which species change and emerge.
    Lamarck believed that giraffes stretched out there necks to reach tree branches and then passed longer necks on to their children.
    Darwin believed that giraffes with shorter necks were less fit, and that over many generations nature would select against them.
    Darwin was right, Lamarck was not.
    Yes, now we know that Lamarck’s ideas were correct on a much smaller scale, but not nearly as important to the overall mechanism of evolution.
    Trying to bring Lamarck into a conversation about epigenetics in order to refute Darwin is comical. These guys were drawing these conclusions before we had even seen cell division.

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Sven Mil:

    Darwin believed that giraffes with shorter necks were less fit, and that over many generations nature would select against them.
    Darwin was right, Lamarck was not.

    What? There was never a giraffe with a short neck. There isn’t any known mechanism that could produce a giraffe’s neck from short, mammalian neck.

    And it wasn’t Darwin who was anti-Lamarck. It’s his followers

  12. 12
    Sven Mil says:

    ^another example of the comical ignorance here at UD

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Yes, Sven Mil, you are a fine example of the comical ignorance here @ UD.

  14. 14
    Ed George says:

    SM@10, yes, I have seen HGT and epigenetics hailed as Lamarckian and anti-Darwinian evolution which, obviously, they are not. First, Darwin had not completely ruled out Lamarckian evolution, only that it wasn’t the primary process. Second, neither HGT nor epigenetics are Lamarckian.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Who to believe- Acartia Eddie or the professionals:

    Several different types of epigenetic inheritance system enable alternative functional states to be maintained in cell lineages that have identical DNA sequences. Both random and guided (directed) epigenetic variations can be transmitted by these systems, and lead to heritable modifications in cell structure and function. Although it is usually assumed that epigenetic inheritance does not occur between generations, both old and new experimental evidence suggest, and in some cases show explicitly, that epigenetic variations can be transmitted from parents to progeny. Simple models of epigenetic inheritance in asexual and sexual organisms are presented. These show that in populations of asexual unicellular organisms, the distinctive properties of induced epigenetic variations mean that the variations may be retained for many generations after the inducing stimulus is removed, even in the absence of selection. The models also show that the epigenetic systems enable some types of acquired character to be inherited in sexual, as well as asexual, organisms. The importance of epigenetic inheritance systems in the evolution of multicellularity is discussed.

    From Evidence, mechanisms and models for the inheritance of acquired characters– see comment 7

  16. 16
    Latemarch says:

    ET@15:
    As little Scoldilocks would say “How Dare You!”
    How dare you present evidence that doesn’t fit the narrative!

  17. 17
    Ed George says:

    Latemarch

    As little Scoldilocks would say “How Dare You!”
    How dare you present evidence that doesn’t fit the narrative!

    Except that the cited paper doesn’t contradict what I said.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    The inheritance of acquired characters is Lamarckian. The paper I cited provides the evidence for- Evidence, mechanisms and models for the inheritance of acquired characters

    Lamarckism refers to the inheritance of acquired characters.

    HGT would be an acquired character. Epigenetics is also the inheritance of acquired characters.

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