Standing athwart epigenetics and yelling “Stop!”
|April 2, 2014||Posted by News under Epigenetics, News|
“End the Hype over Epigenetics & Lamarckian Evolution,” says Real Clear Science.
Unlike regular genetics, which studies changes in the sequence of the DNA letters (A, T, C, and G) that make up our genes, epigenetics examines small chemical tags placed on those letters. Environmental factors play an enormous role in determining where and when the tags are placed. This is a big deal because these chemical tags help determine whether or not a gene is turned “on” or “off.”
Right, and then the question is, can the genes be passed on with the switch in the On or Off position? If so, if the tag was Off in grandma, that might affect her grandchildren. Real Clear cautions,
However, Heard & Martienssen are not convinced. In their Cell review, they admit that epigenetic inheritance has been demonstrated in plants and worms. But, mammals are completely different beasts, so to speak. Mammals go through two rounds of epigenetic “reprogramming” — once after fertilization and again during the formation of gametes (sex cells) — in which most of the chemical tags are wiped clean.
Yes, but which ones?
We are piously advised:
Therefore, be very skeptical of studies which claim to have detected health effects due to epigenetic inheritance. The hype may soon fade, and the concept of Lamarckian evolution may once again return to the grave.
Abstract Since the human genome was sequenced, the term “epigenetics” is increasingly being associated with the hope that we are more than just the sum of our genes. Might what we eat, the air we breathe, or even the emotions we feel influence not only our genes but those of descendants? The environment can certainly influence gene expression and can lead to disease, but transgenerational consequences are another matter. Although the inheritance of epigenetic characters can certainly occur—particularly in plants—how much is due to the environment and the extent to which it happens in humans remain unclear. – Edith Heard and Robert Martienssen. “Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance: Myths and Mechanisms.” Cell 157 (1): 95–109. (2014). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2014.02.045
Some of it will be nonsense, yes. And that, of course, never happened with Darwinian “selfish gene” genetics? There was never, for example “bad driver” gene, fat gene, “friends” gene, gay gene, generosity gene, infidelity gene, or a pedophile gene.
Why should the Darwinians have the entire nonsense racket to themselves? And enforced, no less? As a commenter puts it at the ID Facebook page,
Darwinism is defined as “the uncanny ability to see imaginary fossils where none exist, while simultaneously glancing blindly into the face of a sophisticated biological machine and calling it junk.”
Here, we call balloons as we see them, including Darwin’s balloons.
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