Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

Epigenetics – XIV. Impact on Future Generations (1 of 2)

We have no control over the genes we pass on to our
descendants.  We do, however, have – to a large extent – control
over the epigenes (and indirectly over the genome) we transmit to
future generations.

This simple statement brings us face to face with the
awesome responsibility we, modern humans, have as the keeper of
our genome, and as to the kind of heredity we pass on to our
children, grandchildren, and many generations thereafter.

You can no longer say, “I’ll smoke, drink, and eat all I
want.  I am only harming myself.”  Of course, that statement was
never true, you’re affecting your loved ones, and the treatment
of your numerous ailments is paid for by the taxpayers.  Now,
however, the field of epigenetics demonstrates that you’re
leaving your descendants a damaged genetic package.  When your
will is read, it will turn out that rather than leaving assets to
your heirs, you’re leaving a mountain of debts!

The Ghost in Your Genes

This was the title used by the BBC when they started
reporting on epigenetics.  A ghost has a memory of what he did in
his life and where he lived.  Our epigenome is not really that
different; our genes do have a “memory,” and they are just as
persistent as a ghost.  The life of your ancestors – the food
they ate, the air they breathed, what they saw, the stress they
encountered – can directly affect you decades later, despite you
never experiencing these things yourself.  In turn, what you do,
and what happen to you, could affect your children,
grandchildren, and beyond.

The conventional view that your DNA (and the traits it
contains) is the only heritable information can now be safely
consigned to the dusty archives of past misconceptions.

Epigenetics adds a whole new tier of genes beyond the DNA.
It proposes a control system of “switches” that turns genes on or
off.  What we do, what we experience, can control these switches
and the effects are passed on to future generations.

A remote town in northern Sweden supports this view.
Overkalix’s parish registries include in addition to births and
deaths detailed harvest records.  Marcus Pembrey, a professor of
Clinical Genetics at the Institute of Child Health in London,
together with Swedish researcher Lars Olov Bygren, has found
evidence in these records of an environmental effect that can be
inherited.  They have determined that a famine at critical times
in the lives of the grandparents can affect the life expectancy
of the grandchildren.

Professor Wolf Reik at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge,
has spent years researching this ghost world.  By manipulating
mice embryos, he was able to set off switches that turn genes on
or off.  He went a step further and was able to show that these
switches can be passed on to the next generations.  Further proof
that a “memory” of an event could be inherited.  His research has
clearly indicated that there is a strong link between genes and
the environment, they impact on each other.

Another example.  Underweight babies were born to
malnourished Dutch women during World War II; these children, in
due time, gave birth to underweight children decades after the
war and food rationing had ended.  Remember that epigenetics
effects last for a limited number of generations.  Thus Dutch
women eventually gave birth to normal weight babies.

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