Skip to comments.Lasting genetic legacy of environment (Epigenome).
Posted on 12/20/2007 2:20:13 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu
For all you know, the epigenome and not the genome might be responsible for the excessively posted reports here on FR and in the mainstream media of Europeans being more intelligent than Africans (not mincing words--i.e. "not Europeans more intelligent [embarrassed], but Africans less intelligent." (rolling eyes)). It could be if that is the case (big if--the much touted "Bell Curve" wasn't exactly the most superbly set up test to find out which 'race' is more or less intelligent), then the epigenome could be responsible for the Africans' lesser intelligence.
Or, conversely, the epigenome rather than the genome might be responsible for Europeans' higher intelligence.
Something for you to think about.
The title of this article on the BBC at the time of posting: “Lasting genetic legacy of environment” .
There is a big gap between what I understood the article to say and what you are theorizing. The article discusses changes to the egg or foetus (one generation) not a permanent change to the genome, as I understood the article. I’m sure there are positive effects and negative effects to the changes (I would picture a child being born into a stressful environment as needing more aggression, intelligence, and a physical strength . . . perhaps at the cost of longetivity, ability to relax, and that sort of thing). Which sort of person would you want to be? I can’t choose so I’ll trust God to have set it up right.
Agree with comment about God setting people up the way they were supposed to be born. However, if God gives up the ability to change that, then might that be God's will, too? For instance, many people are born on the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder, and yet they could conceivably climb that ladder and end up on the highest rung, with their children being born into that level. Was God's will for those people to stick on the bottom level? Although they were born into that status, obviously not. Already, the epigenome has been altered by scientists methylating parts.
As for intergenerational effects, the article mentions starving Swedish grandfathers affecting their grandchildren's longevity. That's two generations right there. Furthermore, if parent '1' affects the epigenome of child '2' for that child's entire life, then child '3''s epigenome could be affected, too. And then child '4', '5', etc. Suspect that if that is the case, then the affects would weaken with each generation, but still have some affect on the epigenome for generations. A hypothesis to be sure, but not too much of a stretch.
Studies in mice have found some of these effects lasting at least 2 generations after the one in which the mother had certain environmental effects.
Sounds right but then some good times and a happy family life for Mom might counteract that in the interim. But it does make your long term theory more likely.
Is epigenetics is the explanation for why societies that experience severe famine remain below average in height for several generations after recovering normal nutrition? I believe this phenomenon has been observed repeatedly in history.
Agree with good things happening having the ability to work as a ‘counteraffect’ too. But that would also be an epigenetic change, just one in a good direction. Epigenetics make already complex things even more convoluted.
Hmmm. But this needs to be understood for what it doesn’t say. That is, the genome itself would not be altered by the environment; just the extraneous materials that switch portions of the genome on and off. Thus the THIRD and subsequent generations would not really be altered unless the same environmental impacts occurred similarly.
Repetitive famines could cause the body to not invest in a larger brain, which consumes much of the body’s oxygen and glucose. So the genetic response is a less demanding brain to reduce the odds of starving to death.
An alternative answer that is very politically in correct.
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
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