I thought I would get things started on FCRF with some thoughts on the subject of the science of epigenetics. Once considered scientific “heresy”, the notion that heredity is more than just the underlying DNA sequence, and that adaptations of this kind can be inherited through successive generations, has now been generally accepted by most researchers. Indeed, it invokes a distinctly “Lamarckian” aspect as it implies that traits acquired through experience/action can be passed down in a way that the French naturalist, Jean-Baptise Lamarck, thought was eminently possible. For those of you who like reading scientific articles, I have attached a peer-reviewed article on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in plants, an excerpt from which is provided below:
“Generations of life scientists have contributed to our current view that selection, acting on randomly generated genetic variations or polymorphisms, is the driving force for adaptive responses and organismal evolution…. this dogma of genetic inheritance and evolution has been challenged repeatedly by Lamarckian viewpoints.”
While it is pleasing to see that a longstanding dogma of Neo-Darwinist ideology has now been challenged, if not refuted, the new science of epigenetics still focuses on the genes themselves and the mechanisms that alter the way genes are “expressed” without altering the DNA sequence itself: these include DNA methylation (adding a methyl group) and histone modification (histone is a polypeptide that forms the protein complex of the chromosome). But what it does not properly explain are the causal factors by which the organism and its cells senses information about its own environment and then modifies gene expression using the two mechanisms identified. In a way, this is similar to the vexing problem in developmental biology as to how different cell types (that have identical genomes) produce different proteins, whose sequences are encoded in the genome, according to specific needs.
Dr. Bruce Lipton has more to say about this in a youtube video whose link is provided below:
Lipton argues against the idea that genes are “self-actualizing”, being just molecular blueprints of protein sequences. They don’t turn themselves on and off, or modulate their expression characteristics, but rather it is the environment that determines the genetic readout. Controversially, he argues that quantum mechanics reveals that “matter” is, in effect, just a form of vibrational energy and that it may be possibly to shape matter using “mental energy”, such as thoughts and emotions. This may provide a scientific basis for therapy based on the mind rather than just chemicals (already acknowledged in the placebo effect and psychosomatic disorders.) Thus, the environment affecting our genome may not just be physical but relates to our own psychological condition.
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