Epigenetics research and evolution

This 2017 UK essay was a longish review of how epigenetics and other research has informed evolutionary theory: “There are several processes by which directed evolutionary change occurs—targeted mutation, gene transposition, epigenetics, cultural change, niche construction and adaptation. Evolution is an ongoing set of iterative interactions between organisms and the environment..Directionality is introduced by the … Continue reading Epigenetics research and evolution

Epigenetic study methodologies improved in 2017

Let’s start out 2018 paying more attention to advancements in science that provide sound empirical data and methodology. Let’s ignore and de-emphasize studies and reviews that aren’t much more than beliefs couched in models and memes, whatever their presumed authority. Let sponsors direct researchers to focus on ultimate causes of diseases. Let’s put research of … Continue reading Epigenetic study methodologies improved in 2017

A review of biological variability

This 2017 UK/Spanish review subject was biological variability: “No two cells in a cellular population are the same, and no two individuals of a multi-cellular species are identical—not even if they share the same genetic makeup like monozygotic twins or cloned animals. Epigenetic and gene expression variability are key contributors to phenotypic differences..There are many … Continue reading A review of biological variability

Differing approaches to a life wasted on beliefs

Let’s start by observing that people structure their lives around beliefs. As time goes on, what actions would a person have taken to ward off non-confirming evidence? One response may be that they would engage in ever-increasing efforts to develop new beliefs that justified how they spent their precious life’s time so far. Such was … Continue reading Differing approaches to a life wasted on beliefs

Do you have your family’s detailed medical histories?

Imagine that you were a parent who puzzled over the mystery of your pre-teen daughter’s hyperactive behavior. Without detailed family medical histories, would anyone recognize this as a preprogammed phenotype? Could anyone trace the daughter’s behavior back to her maternal great-grandmother being treated with glucocorticoids near the end of the second trimester of carrying her … Continue reading Do you have your family’s detailed medical histories?

Beliefs about genetic and environmental influences in twin studies

This 2017 Penn State simulation found: “By taking advantage of the natural variation in genetic relatedness among identical (monozygotic: MZ) and fraternal (dizygotic: DZ) twins, twin studies are able to estimate genetic and environmental contributions to complex human behaviors. In the standard biometric model when MZ or DZ twin similarity differs from 1.00 or 0.50, … Continue reading Beliefs about genetic and environmental influences in twin studies

Transgenerationally inherited epigenetic effects of fetal alcohol exposure

The fourth paper of Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance week was a 2016 German rodent study of transgenerational epigenetic effects of alcohol: “We investigated 2 generations of offspring born to alcohol-treated mothers. Here, we show that memory impairment and reduced synthesis of acetylcholine occurs in both F1 (exposed to ethanol in utero) and F2 generation (never been exposed to … Continue reading Transgenerationally inherited epigenetic effects of fetal alcohol exposure

Transgenerational pathological traits induced by prenatal immune activation

The third paper of Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance week was a 2016 Swiss rodent study of immune system epigenetic effects: “Our study demonstrates for, we believe, the first time that prenatal immune activation can negatively affect brain and behavioral functions in multiple generations. These findings thus highlight a novel pathological aspect of this early-life adversity in shaping … Continue reading Transgenerational pathological traits induced by prenatal immune activation

Transgenerational effects of early environmental insults on aging and disease

The first paper of Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance week was a 2017 Canadian/Netherlands review that’s organized as follows: “First, we address mechanisms of developmental and transgenerational programming of disease and inheritance. Second, we discuss experimental and clinical findings linking early environmental determinants to adverse aging trajectories in association with possible parental contributions and sex-specific effects. Third, we … Continue reading Transgenerational effects of early environmental insults on aging and disease

Epigenetic effects of THC differ between female adolescents and adults

This 2017 Italian rodent study found: “THC [delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound of cannabis] exposure affects histone modifications in the brain of female rats in a region- and age-specific manner. Specifically, THC acts on different targets depending on the considered brain area and, remarkably, the adolescent brain is generally more sensitive to THC than the adult … Continue reading Epigenetic effects of THC differ between female adolescents and adults