The world used to believe that we were all bound by the fate of our genetics. Science is now telling us that is far from the truth. Epigenetics, a fairly new field of study in genetics, has revolutionized the way we think of genes and the effect we can have on our own behavior and health. More importantly, it has redefined the way in which we can affect our offspring.
Epigenetics is derived form the word ‘epi’ which is Greek for ‘above, or outer.’ Researchers have located centers outside of the nucleotides of DNA called epigenetic centers that can be altered and affect our health as well as the way we think and behave. These centers can be altered without changing the underlying DNA sequence of our beings. And yet, despite the DNA remaining physically unchanged, traits can be passed down to future offspring through these epigenetic changes creating temporary but fundamental changes (1 – 70 or more generations) to genetic makeup. This has profound implications for our current theories regarding inheritance and evolution.
The bad news first: the detrimental choices you make to your health, like smoking cigarettes, can in fact effect the genetic behavior of your children.
The good news: we are at no time utterly bound by our genes. For good or bad, change is always an option!
This places a new level of responsibility on each and every one of us. Your decision to become a musician may turn your great great great great grand daughter into the next Rebecca Black. Just remember, it was your fault!
This discovery stresses the importance of holding ourselves accountable for the future. Our genes aren’t just a factor of the person we choose to mate with, they are molded by every moment of our lives. A famous Iroquois saying tells people to think of everything they do or say with 7 generations ahead in mind. Epigenetics is telling us the same thing, except instead of 7 generations, think 1000.