DISCLAIMER: This is a post written with enthusiasm, but I advise you to read it with…. caution! As I am NOT an expert in biology and genetics, certain wild speculations discussed here should NOT be taken for granted.
Most reasonably educated people today, even people with no special education in genetics (such as myself) tend to understand reasonably well the basic mechanism of inheritance through DNA, which is the basis of modern biology and the Theory of Evolution, the new field of Bioinformatics, etc. However, we often tend to ignore the newly established fact that there is another very strong mechanism at work, in inheritance, which has nothing to do with the structure of DNA itself, but which entails a remarkable «inheritance of Experience»: Epigenetics.
Epigenetics takes place without any changes in DNA structure. It was (recently) proved POSSIBLE that Experience itself can be inherited – by the very next generation, the offspring of the Experiencer.
GREEK TRANSLATION: I really feel bored to do it, right now. Maybe later on (who knows?…)
Politically and socially, Epigenetics is dynamite (IF certain wild speculations are proved correct):
Epigenetics implies e.g. it is POSSIBLE that victims of a serious catastrophe (such as the Big Famine in Ireland – a particular case discussed in a research study) will transfer their own experience of the catastrophe, to their immediate descendants: Their offspring MIGHT act as if they themselves experienced the same catastrophe, and so on…
I.e. Epigenetics MAY seem to confirm -astonishingly- the idea that intense historical events, such as famines, natural disasters, genocides (e.g. the Holocaust) directly affect the succeeding generations, who act as if they themselves have experienced these events (even without the -undeniable- additional social influences, e.g. of education, or of parents and elders who tell stories about their experiences).
- Nevertheless, the exact nature of this influence from Past Experiences of parents and ancestors, is completely unknown at the present time. ALL we know is that these experiences are in some way inherited; in some way affecting succeeding generations. It is still not known if this influence implies feelings of aversion or -on the contrary- feelings of peaceful transcendence (e.g. of genocidal events).
- So… if you are (e.g.) a fanatic Nationalist, you have been WARNED: – It is quite possible that the opposite of what you believe is true: I.e. it is equally possible (e.g.) that the children of a genocide-afflicted generation have an innate dislike for feelings of hate, rather than an inherited fondness for such negative feelings (which may have caused the genocide in the first place – in the minds of their parents’ persecutors‘).
In the simplest cases, epigenetic inheritance consists of inheriting a parent – organism’s reaction to specific (e.g. chemical) Environmental Conditions (that existed during the parent’s lifetime) – even in humble Yeast; see «Biocompare News – Scientists Clarify a Mechanism of Epigenetic Inheritance»
However, Epigenetic inheritance is not stored as simple DATA, inside DNA molecules, but as a kind of… META-DATA (through a complicated mechanism called «RNA interference» or «RNA-i»)
It’s a kind of…. analog to Semantic Meta-Data (says I -hehe) which controls which DNA data will become inactive and which DNA data will remain active.
DNA is capable of intelligent Self-debugging and Meta-Data Self-Patching, without ANY «side-effects» (in DNA code itself) achieved through a Higher Level of immediate Meta-Data control.
(Hm… Does this seem correct to you, if you are a biologist? 🙂 I don’t know if I got it right, but I gave you hints of other hot topics, which you may need to get right…)
REMINDER: In my (not-so-) humble opinion, genetic biologists who don’t understand A.I. software and who can’t write A.I. software, should have their diplomas invalidated. Genetics is beginning to look more like an advanced topic in A.I. and/or Computer Science, while Computer Science has acquired some hot new chapters directly inspired from Genetics (e.g. these days I’m personally using Genetic Algorithms, for a software project in Job Flow Scheduling). Anyway….
Epigenetics is an entirely different type of inheritance, affecting Evolution in a radical way, closer to Lamarckism than to «orthodox» Darwinism.
Far from negligible, epigenetic inheritcance was recently proved to be extremely strong. It does not consist of DNA mutations at all, but of entirely different processes, causing a strong short-term (as well as long-term) inheritance of «META-DATA» about DNA, i.e. directly inherited «meta-information» about which parts of (existing) DNA will become inactive and which parts of it will remain active, quite often in the very next generation.
Now, if you are a biologist and you know more about this topic, please let us know; your links and comments are more than welcome. If -however- you are a conventionally educated biologist, adhering precisely to what you were taught by others, once upon a time (ignorant about Epigenetics) please -first- look closely into the mind-blowing new evidence about Epigenetics, before… lashing out (e.g. against me) for holding «heretic views», «without being a biologist» -hehe.
- These views seem to confirm -quite radically- the intuition of many parents, who feel that their children seem to behave as if they have already learned from their own (the parents’) experience (a friend of mine is among these people – he feels very strongly that his children «know» his own experience in life, as if they inherited already his own «basic feelings» about his lifetime’s most important phases)
In short, Epigenetics confirms Direct Historical Memory, both collective and individual Historical Memory!
Please remember: These views are NOT heretical at all, today. On the contrary, these views are based on newly established undeniable facts, in recent genetic research.
Here are some quotes:
…The notion that epigenetic alterations can be passed from generation to generation complicates the standard model of genetics. Scientists have long held the view that acquired changes in the regulatory molecules associated with DNA are removed in the germ line cells, reset to a baseline state. Based on the current study, as well as other research conducted over the last few years, this does not appear to be entirely true.
These recent observations necessarily recall the theories of 19th Century scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who postulated that traits acquired by parents during their lives could be passed on to their offspring. Lamarck’s ideas about evolutionary process were overtaken in subsequent years by those of naturalist Charles Darwin and, later, the monk Gregor Mendel. Recent advances in epigenetics, however, have begun to suggest that Lamarck may have been at least partly correct, for reasons and in ways that he could never have anticipated…
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“We have not understood epigenetic inheritance very well,” says Dr. Martienssen, a plant geneticist and one of the pioneers in the study of epigenetics. To explore this process, he and his team are studying the way DNA is packed in yeast, and how this packing can be transmitted across generations. The single-cell yeast organism is easy to study, in part because it lacks other epigenetic inheritance mechanisms, such as chemical modifications of DNA, that complicate the study of more complex animals and plants.
Long DNA molecules almost miraculously cram into cell nuclei that are almost a million times smaller than they are. They do so by wrapping around proteins called histones, which array themselves along the length of the DNA molecule like beads on a string. These DNA-wrapped histones then form larger arrays. The densely packed mass is then modified chemically by other proteins to form heterochromatin.
The dense packing of heterochromatin hides the DNA sequence from the cellular machinery that reads its genetic information, so the DNA in heterochromatin is “silenced.” The genes it contains are effectively turned off.
Surprisingly, the clumping persists even after cells divide, although, says Dr. Martienssen, “it’s always been a mystery how modifications of histones could be inherited.” A few years ago, however, his group and others solved this mystery. They found that histone modification is controlled by complicated cellular mechanisms broadly known as RNA interference, or RNAi.
In RNAi, RNA that is copied from particular regions of DNA interacts with various proteins to modify histones in the same regions. Because the RNA matches only the section of DNA that produced it, it “provides the specificity that you need to make sure that only that part of the chromosome gets these histone modifications,” Dr. Martienssen says. “If the whole chromosome were to get those histone modifications, you’d be dead.”
- Epigenetics Laboratory, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
- 3 Chromosomes Mapped Epigenetically («Far Sighted» blog)
- Mechanism Of Epigenetic Inheritance Clarified
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