Home » Epigenetics, News » Epigenetics shocka: Changes usually don’t last, says study

Epigenetics shocka: Changes usually don’t last, says study

Epigenetic variations between the generations: The third generation of lines 4 and 8 serve as references for the comparison of 10 lines after more than 30 generations. (Credit: © MPI for Developmental Biology)

From “Epigenetic Changes Often Don’t Last, Probably Have Limited Effects On Long-Term Evolution, Research Finds” (ScienceDaily, Sep. 20, 2011), we learn,

The first comprehensive inventory of epigenetic changes over several generations shows that these often do not last and therefore probably have limited effects on long-term evolution, according to scientists in Germany.

Using Arabidopsis, the workhorse of modern plant genetics, the researchers determined how often and where in the genome epigenetic modifications occur — and how often they disappear again. They found that epigenetic changes are many orders of magnitude more frequent than conventional DNA mutations, but also often short lived. They are therefore probably much less important for long-term evolution than previously thought.

Of course, if the epigenetic changes are many orders of magnitude more frequent, a small minority of them might be just as significant as genetic mutations. Or more.  An obvious conclusion the researchers appear to back away from:

What makes epigenetics interesting for human health is the fact that some epigenetic changes can be triggered by external factors. There is evidence that nutrition or the bond between children and their parents can leave traces in the genome that can be passed on to the next generation. The limited stability of DNA methylation implies, however, that such differences do not necessarily last forever, which is probably not a bad idea because a famine might not last forever. It also means that altered DNA methylation often cannot become subject to natural selection.

It’s a good thing someone is letting the air out of the epigenetics balloon; it was in danger of becoming pop science, now maybe it’ll remain real science. It’ll be interesting to come back a decade later and see what’s turned up

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9 Responses to Epigenetics shocka: Changes usually don’t last, says study

  1. “The first comprehensive inventory of epigenetic changes over several generations shows that these often do not last and therefore probably have limited effects on long-term evolution”

    Kudos to news for sharing a conclusion that contradicts overstated headlines like:

    “Epigenetic signatures: Another blow to the “it’s in yer genes” industry”
    “Move Over Mendel, It’s Time for Epigenetics!”
    “Epigenetics as forerunner of design?”

  2. Another Day, another extremely bad day to be a neo-Darwinist, because now, not only has epigentics falsified the genetic reductionism model upon which the modern synthesis of neo-Darwinism was built:

    Getting Over the Code Delusion (Epigenetics) – Talbot – November 2010 – Excellent Article for explaining exactly why epigentics falsifies the neo-Darwinian paradigm of genetic reductionism:
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....e-delusion

    Modern Synthesis of Neo-Darwinism (Genetic Reductionism) Is Dead – Paul Nelson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5548184/

    Deep Genomics: In the Case of DNA, the Package Can Be as Important as Its Contents, New Work With Fruit Flies Reveals – January 2011
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....102158.htm

    Even Eugene Koonin agrees that the modern evolutionary synthesis (Genetic Reductionism) of neo-Darwinism is devastated.

    The Origin at 150: is a new evolutionary synthesis in sight? – Koonin – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: The edifice of the modern synthesis has crumbled, apparently, beyond repair.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index....._synthesis

    But now epigentics also provides no ‘escape hatch’ for a ‘extended’ materialistic theory of evolution which may have been postulated to explain body plan morphogenesis, which, of course, the modern synthesis had completely failed to explain in the first place:

    Epigenetic changes don’t last – September 2011
    Excerpt: They found that epigenetic changes are many orders of magnitude more frequent than conventional DNA mutations, but also often short lived. They are therefore probably much less important for long-term evolution than previously thought.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....-dont.html

    Thus for IDists, epigenetics is the gift that keeps on giving. i.e. first it falsified the modern synthesis (Genetic Reductionism model)of neo-Darwinism, and next it crushed any hope of a ‘extending’ the neo-Darwinian model to include ‘permanent’ epigenetic changes in a new drastically revised model of neo-Darwinism (Lamarkism if you will):
    note:

    A comparative approach for the investigation of biological information processing: An examination of the structure and function of computer hard drives and DNA – David J D’Onofrio1, Gary An – Jan. 2010
    Excerpt: It is also important to note that attempting to reprogram a cell’s operations by manipulating its components (mutations) is akin to attempting to reprogram a computer by manipulating the bits on the hard drive without fully understanding the context of the operating system. (T)he idea of redirecting cellular behavior by manipulating molecular switches may be fundamentally flawed; that concept is predicated on a simplistic view of cellular computing and control. Rather, (it) may be more fruitful to attempt to manipulate cells by changing their external inputs: in general, the majority of daily functions of a computer are achieved not through reprogramming, but rather the varied inputs the computer receives through its user interface and connections to other machines.
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/7/1/3

    One example from biology, of many that could be cited, is this:

    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

    Programming of Life – Biological Computers – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Pr.....Rooe6ehrPs

    music

    Powerful Carrie Underwood Performance – Temporary Home – Music Videos
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FFC9B1NU

  3. Epigenetics is not a magic fairy, but Darwinism is still dead.

  4. Wow, you can really have it both ways if you spin it hard enough. Epigenetics is against evolution if it persists many generations, and against evolution if it is only transient. What an amazing thing the predictions of ID are.

    By the way, BA77, epigenetic mechanisms serve to silence gene expression, so ‘genetic reductionism’ is sadly quite intact.

    If you dispute this, please lead with a summary of how epigenetics works, so I know we’re remotely on the same page.

  5. DrREC, if anyone is ‘spinning hard’ to avoid clear implications, and to serve a personal philosophical bias, it is you!!! indeed You claim:

    By the way, BA77, epigenetic mechanisms serve to silence gene expression, so ‘genetic reductionism’ is sadly quite intact.

    Yet despite this allusion of DrREC to a regulatory role for epigenetic information, a ‘regulatory role’ governing gene expression which already strains the credibility of the Genetic Reductionism model, we find ‘body plan’ formation to be controlled by information that is ‘outside’ of the genes of DNA (outside of the Genetic Reductionism model):

    The Gene Myth, Part II – August 2010
    Excerpt: So even with the same sequence a given protein can have different shapes and functions. Furthermore, many proteins have no intrinsic shape, taking on different roles in different molecular contexts. So even though genes specify protein sequences they have only a tenuous influence over their functions.,,, So, to reiterate, the genes do not uniquely determine what is in the cell, but what is in the cell determines how the genes get used.,,, Only if the pie were to rise up, take hold of the recipe book and rewrite the instructions for its own production, would this popular analogy for the role of genes be pertinent.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....rt-ii.html

    New level of genetic diversity in human RNA sequences uncovered
    Excerpt: A detailed comparison of DNA and RNA in human cells has uncovered a surprising number of cases where the corresponding sequences are not, as has long been assumed, identical. The RNA-DNA differences generate proteins that do not precisely match the genes that encode them.,,, Nearly half of the RDDs uncovered in the new study cannot be explained by the activity of deaminase enzymes, however, indicating that unknown processes must be modifying the RNA sequence, either during or after transcription. ,,, Although all of the individuals analyzed in the study had a large number of RDDs, there was a great deal of variability in the specific RDDs found in each person’s genetic material.”
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....ences.html

    Gene Regulatory Networks in Embryos Depend on Pre-existing Spatial Coordinates – jonathan Wells – July 2011
    Excerpt: The development of metazoan embryos requires the precise spatial deployment of specific cellular functions. This deployment depends on gene regulatory networks (GRNs), which operate downstream of initial spatial inputs (E. H. Davidson, Nature 468 [2010]: 911). Those initial inputs depend, in turn, on pre-existing spatial coordinate systems. In Drosophila oocytes, for example, spatial localization of the earliest-acting elements of the maternal GRN depends on the prior establishment of an anteroposterior body axis by antecedent asymmetries in the ovary. Those asymmetries appear to depend on cytoskeletal and membrane patterns rather than on DNA sequences,,,
    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=7751

    The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories – Stephen Meyer
    “Neo-Darwinism seeks to explain the origin of new information, form, and structure as a result of selection acting on randomly arising variation at a very low level within the biological hierarchy, mainly, within the genetic text. Yet the major morphological innovations depend on a specificity of arrangement at a much higher level of the organizational hierarchy, a level that DNA alone does not determine. Yet if DNA is not wholly responsible for body plan morphogenesis, then DNA sequences can mutate indefinitely, without regard to realistic probabilistic limits, and still not produce a new body plan. Thus, the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations in DNA cannot in principle generate novel body plans, including those that first arose in the Cambrian explosion.”
    http://eyedesignbook.com/ch6/eyech6-append-d.html

    “Live memory” of the cell, the other hereditary memory of living systems.
    Abstract: We propose to designate by the term “live memory” of the cell, the cytoplasmic memory. This phenomenon consists of non-genetic memory, but nevertheless includes transmission function, which may be “hereditary” via the ovum, from mother cell to daughter cell, or simply within the same cell from instant t to instant t+1. To understand this notion of “live memory”, its role and interactions with DNA must be resituated; indeed, operational information belongs as much to the cell body and to its cytoplasmic regulatory protein components and other endogenous or exogenous ligands as it does to the DNA database. We will see in Section 2, using examples from recent experiments in biology, the principal roles of “live memory” in relation to the four aspects of cellular identity, memory of form, hereditary transmission and also working memory.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15888340

    Getting Over the Code Delusion – Talbot – November 2010
    Excerpt: The standard doctrine has it that functionally important sequences, precisely because they are important to the organism, will generally be conserved across considerable evolutionary distances.
    But the emerging point of view holds that architecture can matter as much as sequence. As bioinformatics researcher Elliott Margulies and his team at the National Human Genome Research Institute put it, “the molecular shape of DNA is under selection” — a shape that can be maintained in its decisive aspects despite changes in the underlying sequence. It’s not enough, they write, to analyze “the order of A’s, C’s, G’s, and T’s,” because “DNA is a molecule with a three-dimensional structure.”[14] Elementary as the point may seem, it’s leading to a considerable reallocation of investigative resources.
    Of course, researchers knew all along that DNA and chromatin were spatial structures. But that didn’t prevent them from ignoring that fact as far as possible. Opportunities to pursue the abstract and determinate lawfulness of a code or mathematical rule have always shown great potential for derailing the scientist’s attention from the world’s full-bodied presentation of itself.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....e-delusion

    “Yet by the late 1980s it was becoming obvious to most genetic researchers, including myself, since my own main research interest in the ‘80s and ‘90s was human genetics, that the heroic effort to find the information specifying life’s order in the genes had failed. There was no longer the slightest justification for believing that there exists anything in the genome remotely resembling a program capable of specifying in detail all the complex order of the phenotype (Body Plan).”
    Michael John Denton page 172 of Uncommon Dissent

    An Electric Face: A Rendering Worth a Thousand Falsifications – September 2011
    Excerpt: The video suggests that bioelectric signals presage the morphological development of the face. It also, in an instant, gives a peak at the phenomenal processes at work in biology. As the lead researcher said, “It’s a jaw dropper.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....usand.html

    Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – Glimpses At Human Development In The Womb – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4249713

    Moreover DrREC, you simply do not have any evidence to show that mutations to DNA can effect body plan morphogenesis in a positive and novel way!!!

    …Advantageous anatomical mutations are never observed. The four-winged fruit fly is a case in point: The second set of wings lacks flight muscles, so the useless appendages interfere with flying and mating, and the mutant fly cannot survive long outside the laboratory. Similar mutations in other genes also produce various anatomical deformations, but they are harmful, too. In 1963, Harvard evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr wrote that the resulting mutants “are such evident freaks that these monsters can be designated only as ‘hopeless.’ They are so utterly unbalanced that they would not have the slightest chance of escaping elimination through natural selection.” –
    Jonathan Wells

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  6. And DrREC, as if the preceding evidence was not enough to crush the materialistically inspired Genetic Reductionism model of the modern synthesis of neo-Darwinism, I once again remind you (‘regurgitate’ to use your words) that ‘non-local’ quantum information has been found, on a massive molecular scale throughout life, and that this ‘non-local’ quantum information must have a non-local ’cause’, that is outside of space-time, to explain its origination!!! i.e. it is impossible for ‘local’ material particles to be the primary source for the ‘non-local’ quantum information we find in life!!! This is more than a slight problem for genetic reductionism DrREC!!!

    notes:

    Neo-Darwinian evolution purports to explain all the wondrously amazing complexity of life on earth by reference solely to chance and necessity processes acting on energy and matter (i.e. purely material processes). In fact neo-Darwinian evolution makes the grand materialistic claim that the staggering levels of unmatched complex functional information we find in life, and even the ‘essence of life’ itself, simply ‘emerged’ from purely material processes. And even though this basic scientific point, of the ability of purely material processes to generate even trivial levels of complex functional information, has spectacularly failed to be established, we now have a much greater proof. This proof comes from the fact that it is now shown from quantum mechanics that ‘information’ is its own unique ‘physical’ entity. A physical entity that is shown to be completely independent of any energy-matter space-time constraints, i.e. it does not ‘emerge’ from any reductive material basis. Moreover this ‘transcendent information’ is shown to be dominant of energy-matter in that this ‘information’ is shown, among other things, to be the entity that is in fact constraining the energy-matter processes of the cell to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium from its environment.

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Reductive Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    The falsification for local realism (reductive materialism) was recently greatly strengthened:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    of note: hidden variables were postulated to remove the need for ‘spooky’ forces, as Einstein termed them — forces that act instantaneously at great distances, thereby breaking the most cherished rule of relativity theory, that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. This following video shows a little bit of just how ‘spooky’ quantum entanglement truly is:

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

    And yet, quantum entanglement, which rigorously falsified local realism (reductive materialism) as the complete description of reality, is now found in molecular biology on a massive scale!

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA & Protein Folding – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    i.e. It is very interesting to note that quantum entanglement, which conclusively demonstrates that ‘information’ in its pure ‘quantum form’ is completely transcendent of any time and space constraints, as well as ‘dominate of material particles, should be found in molecular biology on such a massive scale, for how can the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ in biology possibly be explained by a material (matter/energy space/time) ’cause’ when the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ falsified material particles as its own ‘causation’ in the first place? (A. Aspect) Appealing to the probability of various configurations of material particles, as neo-Darwinism does, simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the capacity of the energy/matter particles themselves to supply! To give a coherent explanation for an effect that is shown to be completely independent of any time and space constraints one is forced to appeal to a cause that is itself
    not limited to time and space! i.e. Put more simply, you cannot explain a effect by a cause that has been falsified by the very same effect you are seeking to explain! Improbability arguments of various ‘specified’ configurations of material particles, which have been a staple of the arguments against neo-Darwinism, simply do not apply since the cause is not within the material particles in the first place!
    ,,,To refute this falsification of neo-Darwinism, one must falsify Alain Aspect, and company’s, falsification of local realism (reductive materialism) by quantum entanglement!!!

    As well this evidence dovetails into Dembski and Marks’s work on Conservation of Information quite nicely;,,,

    LIFE’S CONSERVATION LAW: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Information
    William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II
    http://evoinfo.org/publication.....ation-law/

    ,,,Encoded classical information, that has been found to be conserved by Dembski and Marks,,, encoded classical information such as what we find in computer programs, and yes as we find encoded in DNA, is found to be a subset of ‘transcendent’ quantum information by the following method:,,,

    This following research provides solid falsification for Rolf Landauer’s contention that information encoded in a computer is merely physical (merely ‘emergent’ from a material basis) since he believed it always required energy to erase it;

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy.
    Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    ,,,And, to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, here is the empirical confirmation that quantum information is ‘conserved’;,,,

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    The implication of all this is simply overwhelming;

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007

    Music:

    You are GOD alone
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLIOSWYhQoE

  7. Correction- Darwinism was stillborn…

  8. Of note:

    Revisiting the Central Dogma in the 21st Century – James A. Shapiro – 2009
    Excerpt: Underlying the central dogma (i.e. the Genetic Reductionism model of the modern synthesis) and conventional views of genome evolution was the idea that the genome is a stable structure that changes rarely and accidentally by chemical fluctuations (106) or replication errors. This view has had to change with the realization that maintenance of genome stability is an active cellular function and the discovery of numerous dedicated biochemical systems for restructuring DNA molecules.(107–110) Genetic change is almost always the result of cellular action on the genome.,,, Genome change arises as a consequence of natural genetic engineering, not from accidents. Replication errors and DNA damage are subject to cell surveillance and correction. When DNA damage correction does produce novel genetic structures, natural genetic engineering functions, such as mutator polymerases and nonhomologous end-joining complexes, are involved. Realizing that DNA change is a biochemical process means that it is subject to regulation like other cellular activities. Thus, we expect to see genome change occurring in response to different stimuli (Table 1) and operating nonrandomly throughout the genome, guided by various types of intermolecular contacts (Table 1 of Ref. 112).
    http://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.ed.....0Dogma.pdf

    also of interest from the preceding paper, on page 21, is a simplified list of ‘epigentic’ information flow in the cell that directly contradicts what was expected from the central dogma (Genetic Reductionism/modern synthesis model) of neo-Darwinism.

  9. If the preceding finding of ‘non-local’ quantum information, on a massive scale in molecular biology, was not enough to convince some people that there is much, much, more going on in life than merely particles in motion, here is an inspirational poem, to celebrate the first day of autumn, that, at least for me, points to much deeper purpose being in life than the zero sum purpose for life that atheists claim is all the purpose there really is for life;

    Autumn Leaf’s Laughter – Inspirational Poem
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4181846/

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