Ghost in Our Genes
Posted by Biology SL on Monday, February 24th, 2014 at 3:39 amin
What is epigenetics?
Epigenetics are traits that are results of environmental influences instead of genetic influences.
What do you find fascinating about the video?
I found it interesting that the environment arounds us affects what genes are activated and what genes are turned off. In the video, we can see that the mice with a more caring mother will see a smaller increase in stress levels as opposed to mice with neglecting mothers. It is also interesting to see that this epigenetic change is also seen in humans and lasts for generations.
It is also interesting to see how we are dealing with problems that arise from the epigenetic traits. This is shown in the documentary with the cancer drug trials and also the autistic children. As it can be seen that epigenetic traits arise due to the lifestyles of our grandparents, we can try to reduce it by living a healthier lifestyle, which will have a smaller impact on our future generations.
Responsibility to our grandchildren
We have a responsibility in keeping the gene that we pass on to our grandchildren healthy. As can be seen from the video, epigenetic traits are passed on due to our lifestyle. This is shown when the grandfather suffers from famine, his grandchildren are less likely to have diabetes in the future. We now know that smoking and drinking affects our life with diseases such as lung cancer. To avoid this fate for our grandchildren, we must stop doing all these things and start living a healthy lifestyle.
The affects might not be visible during the time that we are alive. However, our children and grandchildren might suffer from it. Epigenetic traits can even be passed down for up to 4 generations. Therefore, as a responsibility to our grandchildren and future generations, we have to think of the consequences our actions might bring later in their life.