DEP2000 / Prof. Dehmer
After years of conducted research and findings, it is known today that genes provide information to the body for building proteins. However, modern day research has also started to notice differences between twins, whom are supposed to be genetically identical. This opened the doors to questions such as how we each have our own personalities, what dictates our taste in food and music, and why one twin has cancer and yet the other does not. What has been found is that our genes indeed dictate our bodily features, but there is a changing factor called epigenetics that ceases activity from a gene.
Epigenomes receive signals while in the womb, typically received by the mother. The mother’s choices while pregnant can most certainly affect a person both physically and mentally, but the mother’s influence isn’t the only thing playing a role in a person’s development. It is important to consider that epigenetics does not stop after birth. As life continues, so does epigenetics. Habits that people develop, food, exercise, and even smoking are all environmental factors that send out signals to our cells to perform a particular bodily function.
The video by PBS, “Epigenetics”, gave me a clear understanding about genetics that I never understood. Sure I know the reasons why my brother has hazel eyes while mine are a dark brown, that’s genetics. A dominant trait or two recessive traits would have played a role in this outcome. However, this idea of epigenetics is very interesting and new to me. The first thing that came to mind was how exercise may be a large influence on a person’s epigenome. Anecdotally, I have observed a close friend who has the build of Hugh Jackman while having a father and grandfather who closely resemble Jim Parsons from “The Big Bang Theory”. His parents may have exercised moderately, but more than likely not to the extent that he has. Lifting heavy weights almost...