Monday, March 13, 2006

Epigenetics

We always knew it was a mix of what you were born with and the life you lived: genetics and environment. In a world of perpetual change, of nature's endless recycling of everything, how could there be any absolutes? It turns out that even our DNA is not absolute. Our genes have switches that respond to our living in the world and in turn affect our lives, their unfolding. If we didn't have philosophical underpinnings, a knowing that we're born with certain predispositions but that our environment shapes much of what emerges, would our epigenetic scientists have known what to look for? This is exciting research; I was riveted: even when an environment has not been conducive, a smoker's lungs, toxic metals in the water system, and there is disease, it might still be possible to heal the person by fixing the genetic response to the maladaptation. To go in and 'fix the operating system.' Turning back on the gene switch that stops tumor growth, thereby preventing metastasis. Medical science appears more and more miraculous. One hopes the techniques are used wisely and not ever for a eugenic agenda...