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Epigenetics


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Sure reminds me of the "sins of the father" verse(s).... What say you?

 

From a recent article in Newsweek, I apologize, I have no link,

 

but from Wiki as follows:

 

Evolution

Although epigenetics in multicellular organisms is generally thought to be a mechanism involved in differentiation, with epigenetic patterns "reset" when organisms reproduce, there have been some observations of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance (e.g., the phenomenon of paramutation observed in maize). Although most of these multigenerational epigenetic traits are gradually lost over several generations, the possibility remains that multigenerational epigenetics could be another aspect to evolution and adaptation. A sequestered germ line or Weismann barrier is specific to animals, and epigenetic inheritance is expected to be far more common in plants and microbes. These effects may require enhancements to the standard conceptual framework of the modern evolutionary synthesis.[33][34]

 

Epigenetic features may play a role in short-term adaptation of species by allowing for reversible phenotype variability. The modification of epigenetic features associated with a region of DNA allows organisms, on a multigenerational time scale, to switch between phenotypes that express and repress that particular gene.[35] When the DNA sequence of the region is not mutated, this change is reversible. It has also been speculated that organisms may take advantage of differential mutation rates associated with epigenetic features to control the mutation rates of particular genes.[35]

 

Epigenetic changes have also been observed to occur in response to environmental exposure—for example, mice given some dietary supplements have epigenetic changes affecting expression of the agouti gene, which affects their fur color, weight, and propensity to develop cancer.[36][37]

 

[edit] Transgenerational epigenetic observations

A comprehensive review of over 100 cases of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance reported the phenomena in a wide range of organisms including prokaryotes, plants, and animals. [38]

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If there is a god, and if he visits the sins of the fathers on their children through genetics, I cannot think of anything more malicious, capricious and evil.

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Sure reminds me of the "sins of the father" verse(s).... What say you?

Yes. The first time I heard about it, that was one of the thoughts I had.

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So which sins were the maize and mice committing to have epigenetic information passed down? What epigenetical information would be passed down by someone who is stealing, killing, not observing the Sabath, worshiping other gods, coveting their neighbours things, bearing false witness, not honoring their parents, taking the lords name in vain, or worshiping an engraven image?

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Guest Valk0010

If there is a god, and if he visits the sins of the fathers on their children through genetics, I cannot think of anything more malicious, capricious and evil.

ditto

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So which sins were the maize and mice committing to have epigenetic information passed down? What epigenetical information would be passed down by someone who is stealing, killing, not observing the Sabath, worshiping other gods, coveting their neighbours things, bearing false witness, not honoring their parents, taking the lords name in vain, or worshiping an engraven image?

 

Based on what very very little I know about genetics, one would think testing would be in order to discern such. I don't think it a stretch to expect one's physiology being changed by a "spiritual" event.

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Naughty corn. Do let's smite them.

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Naughty corn. Do let's smite them.

 

 

Actually, I think it speaks to sin as a survival mode...and additionally to the "I was born that way" discussion.

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I don't think it a stretch to expect one's physiology being changed by a "spiritual" event.

 

In fact, it is just that - quite a stretch to expect one's physiology to be changed by a "spirtual" event. It's a total, fantasy-ridden, speculative, non-sequitor, new agey stretch right up there with "we only use 10% of our brains so ESP must be real!"

 

To scientifically test any such phenomenon, you would have to come up with a definition of the word spiritual that can be coherent, consistent, agreed upon across disciplinary realms and in some way be subject to scientific testing and confirmation. Good luck with that. "Spiritual" is one of those words which just asks for equivocation and sect-ridden baggage.

 

Then, should that ever happen, AND should the word "spiritual" mean anything recognizable to anyone after being so defined, there would have to be some way to ascertain that a spiritual even has occurred and then map a change in physiology to it.

 

Why don't we just talk about the changes in physiology brought about in alien abductees by the aliens that abduct them?

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Based on what very very little I know about genetics, one would think testing would be in order to discern such. I don't think it a stretch to expect one's physiology being changed by a "spiritual" event.

Epigenetics has nothing to do with any spiritual event, but you know that. Right?

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So which sins were the maize and mice committing to have epigenetic information passed down? What epigenetical information would be passed down by someone who is stealing, killing, not observing the Sabath, worshiping other gods, coveting their neighbours things, bearing false witness, not honoring their parents, taking the lords name in vain, or worshiping an engraven image?

 

Based on what very very little I know about genetics, one would think testing would be in order to discern such. I don't think it a stretch to expect one's physiology being changed by a "spiritual" event.

 

It is a pretty big stretch. Most epigenetical changes are going to be through diet, chemical exposure, physical activity even enviromental exposure. Things that alter metabolism and body chemistry. There wouldn't be any discrection regarding the morality of the stimulus. Someone who gets lots of exercise by running as a professional athlete is going to pass on the same epigenetical information as someone who gets their exercise running from the police. In fact, someone who is doing something decidedly immoral could pass down information that is beneficial while someone doing a moral selfless act could pass down information that is detrimental. The sins of the father could be a pleasing to the son and visa versa.

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Even as a christian, I figured the "sins of the father" verse had something to do with sinful parents raising sinful children, and the children suffering because of their sinful upbringing. Then, of course, those children would also raise their children in a sinful manner. Kinda like how child abusers were often victims of child abuse themselves.

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Naughty corn. Do let's smite them.

 

 

Actually, I think it speaks to sin as a survival mode...and additionally to the "I was born that way" discussion.

 

I have read about this before. The DNA doesn't change, but its expression does. And that level of expression can be passed on to our children.

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It is a pretty big stretch. Most epigenetical changes are going to be through diet, chemical exposure, physical activity even enviromental exposure. Things that alter metabolism and body chemistry. There wouldn't be any discrection regarding the morality of the stimulus. Someone who gets lots of exercise by running as a professional athlete is going to pass on the same epigenetical information as someone who gets their exercise running from the police. In fact, someone who is doing something decidedly immoral could pass down information that is beneficial while someone doing a moral selfless act could pass down information that is detrimental. The sins of the father could be a pleasing to the son and visa versa.

 

But I would think that if we had a list of "sins", that then we could potentially be able to define epigenetical changes attributed to those qualities.

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But I would think that if we had a list of "sins", that then we could potentially be able to define epigenetical changes attributed to those qualities.

Not really.

 

Epigenetics is essentially about the expression of genotype into phenotype, not social development.

 

The first time I heard about this was regarding fast food. There are some indication that people who eat unhealthy food will have offspring that is affected by their eating habits. And the effects can be seen in a couple of generations after, even if the children changes their behavior. The reason is that there are many different chemicals and parts of the cell that are inherited besides the DNA. During the meiosis (and mytosis), not only is the cell's DNA, nucleus, and mitochondria copied, but also the ribosoms and cell membrane are copied. And if there is an abundance of a certain chemical or enzyme in a person's body, and the cells are filled with these, that will effect the cells expression, and also be inherited.

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But I would think that if we had a list of "sins", that then we could potentially be able to define epigenetical changes attributed to those qualities.

Not really.

 

Epigenetics is essentially about the expression of genotype into phenotype, not social development.

 

The first time I heard about this was regarding fast food. There are some indication that people who eat unhealthy food will have offspring that is affected by their eating habits. And the effects can be seen in a couple of generations after, even if the children changes their behavior. The reason is that there are many different chemicals and parts of the cell that are inherited besides the DNA. During the meiosis (and mytosis), not only is the cell's DNA, nucleus, and mitochondria copied, but also the ribosoms and cell membrane are copied. And if there is an abundance of a certain chemical or enzyme in a person's body, and the cells are filled with these, that will effect the cells expression, and also be inherited.

 

I will have to educate myself as I discuss on this one Hans....

 

To your example...unhealthy as in too much or gluttony? It always seeme to revert back to the same old arguments. But it won't hurt me to learn some biology.

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I will have to educate myself as I discuss on this one Hans....

Sure. It's a very complex topic. I'm no expert on this at all, so don't expect me to have all the answers, and many things I say might be just best guesses.

 

To your example...unhealthy as in too much or gluttony? It always seeme to revert back to the same old arguments. But it won't hurt me to learn some biology.

There are more ways to eat unhealthy than just gluttony. Too little or too poor quality would constitute unhealthy as well.

 

To help you think about this, the cells need certain amino acids, nucleotides, and chemicals to be able to do their job. The main job for a cell is to produce proteins (peptides and polypeptides), and the second job is to reproduce (mitosis--cell division, and also meiosis--gamete production). So it's not hard to visualize the situation where some amino acids are missing or any other material the cell needs is missing. What will happen? It will continue to work on what is there and there could be accidents in how the protein is produced and accidents in how the cell is divided. It's pretty straight forward, don't you think? It's like building a car, and you don't have enough red paint, so you take some blue paint as well to fill it up. The car won't look as the car you originally thought, but it is painted. I suspect there is some similarity here. The new cells will carry some flaws in their structure and composition besides the DNA.

 

Just take something like hydrogenated fat. It's a product we've been consuming for quite some time now, and there are some indication that it could be a cause for certain kinds of cancer. If it can affect some cells in your body to become cancerous, it's not unlikely they could also affect gametes and gamete production (sex cells, sperms and ova).

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To your example...unhealthy as in too much or gluttony? It always seems to revert back to the same old arguments. But it won't hurt me to learn some biology.

 

Although gluttony does get some exposure in a few lists of sins in the christian bible, is gluttony ever really associated with the sins referenced in the old testament "sins of the fathers" passages?

 

This is like trying to make evolutionary biology dovetail into passages from Genesis about the days of creation. It's a hermeneutic travesty and a misappropriation of time resources.

 

Rather than a study in epgenetics to try to force the words of the bible to be scientifically relevant, doesn't it sound like a study of ancient near east cultures and their views on multi-generational curses would be more relevant?

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But I would think that if we had a list of "sins", that then we could potentially be able to define epigenetical changes attributed to those qualities.

 

A list of agreed "sins" would be nearly impossible to have but that is just a minor quibble.

 

Being able to tie such "sins" to epigenetic changes is reaching for straws. What "sin" would you attribute to a genetic disorder that skips generations (one such example is hemophilia)? Why does the current generation get a pass while a future generation doesn't? Morally speaking, any god who played in such a manner would not be deserving of being worshiped.

 

What about heterosexual couples who have progenitors who are homosexual? What "sin" was passed here and why would a god behave in such a way? "I'm pissed at this couple so their child is going to be gay, that'll teach em!"

 

I personally have a 50db hearing loss in my right ear - what "sin" did my parents (who had no abnormal hearing losses) supposedly commit for your god to decide that as revenge I was to be born with a congenital hearing loss? What "sin" was the cause of my anxiety disorder and ADHD (neither my mother or father had these)? You cannot attribute an abstraction such as "sin" to apply towards a field as complex as genetics/epigenetics.

 

If we can understand genetics enough to understand inheritance and expression/lack of genetics why do we need a god or the idea of "sin" to understand how these function?

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Being able to tie such "sins" to epigenetic changes is reaching for straws. What "sin" would you attribute to a genetic disorder that skips generations (one such example is hemophilia)? Why does the current generation get a pass while a future generation doesn't? Morally speaking, any god who played in such a manner would not be deserving of being worshiped.

 

To my understanding, no. Wasn't that the point of the recent research, that they WERE able to discern through analyses what was "methylated" due to the outside influence.

 

If we can understand genetics enough to understand inheritance and expression/lack of genetics why do we need a god or the idea of "sin" to understand how these function?

 

I was gathering from the article that these understandings are relatively new and that they might mean re-thinking some established ideas about evolution.

 

What caught my eye was the statement that said that the changes migrated back to their original settings over three or four generations......very much like the bible had stated 1500+ years ago.

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I was gathering from the article that these understandings are relatively new and that they might mean re-thinking some established ideas about evolution.

 

What caught my eye was the statement that said that the changes migrated back to their original settings over three or four generations......very much like the bible had stated 1500+ years ago.

 

If anything it seems like these new findings would complement current understanding about evolution. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can think of at least a few scenarios when epigenetic mechanisms might prove useful to an organism: Say an certain population has a biological function that operates correctly by activating genes and this mechanism enhances the fitness of the organism. It would be advantageous for that population to constantly activate those genes even though no alteration to the base DNA is performed.

 

Where in the bible did you see biological changes resetting over time? I don't think I've ever run across a passage like that.

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I was gathering from the article that these understandings are relatively new and that they might mean re-thinking some established ideas about evolution.

 

What caught my eye was the statement that said that the changes migrated back to their original settings over three or four generations......very much like the bible had stated 1500+ years ago.

 

If anything it seems like these new findings would complement current understanding about evolution. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can think of at least a few scenarios when epigenetic mechanisms might prove useful to an organism: Say an certain population has a biological function that operates correctly by activating genes and this mechanism enhances the fitness of the organism. It would be advantageous for that population to constantly activate those genes even though no alteration to the base DNA is performed.

 

Where in the bible did you see biological changes resetting over time? I don't think I've ever run across a passage like that.

 

Maybe you read it differently Mike. I am open for different interpretations as I have never had a strong feeling about this particular verse.

 

 

Exd 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].

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Maybe you read it differently Mike. I am open for different interpretations as I have never had a strong feeling about this particular verse.

 

 

Exd 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].

 

This seems to be talking explicitly about the nature of sin though, so unless sin has a genetic quality it is probably not easily correlated with the study of epigenetic systems. Now, one thing that I can think of (which is somewhat related to the topic) that might be considered a "generational curse" would be any variety of heritable diseases such as Sickle-Cell anemia. The traits of sickle-cell anemia, low O2 carrying capacity in erythrocytes, is actually beneficial in regions where malaria parasites are endemic. However, this tends to decrease the fitness of any population with this trait outside of such an environment. Would it be considered a "curse" in a conventional Christian sense? Probably doubtful, unless you're an athlete with sickle-cell who is struggling to compete with the everyone else who may not have that trait.

 

In biology there is no right or wrong, only the pursuit of survival. Ergo it is probably not accurate to map anthropomorphic human cultural ideas to physical or biological systems where there is no analogue.

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Maybe you read it differently Mike. I am open for different interpretations as I have never had a strong feeling about this particular verse.

 

 

Exd 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].

 

This seems to be talking explicitly about the nature of sin though, so unless sin has a genetic quality it is probably not easily correlated with the study of epigenetic systems. Now, one thing that I can think of (which is somewhat related to the topic) that might be considered a "generational curse" would be any variety of heritable diseases such as Sickle-Cell anemia. The traits of sickle-cell anemia, low O2 carrying capacity in erythrocytes, is actually beneficial in regions where malaria parasites are endemic. However, this tends to decrease the fitness of any population with this trait outside of such an environment. Would it be considered a "curse" in a conventional Christian sense? Probably doubtful, unless you're an athlete with sickle-cell who is struggling to compete with the everyone else who may not have that trait.

 

In biology there is no right or wrong, only the pursuit of survival. Ergo it is probably not accurate to map anthropomorphic human cultural ideas to physical or biological systems where there is no analogue.

 

Fetal alcohol syndrome?

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