‘The study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Epi in greek means Above, so it means Above Genetics’
– Oxford Dictionary
Epigenetics refers to a change in the phenotype without a change in the genotype
We all have a unique set of genes, a unique permutation and combination from our Ancestors
Our genes might make us predisposed to specific behaviour, physiology, psychology, appearance, traits and disease
A gene mutation is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene, and can affect anywhere from a single DNA to a large segment of a chromosome that includes multiple genes.
Certain genes from our ancestors or mutated or altered genes can make us predisposed or susceptible to certain conditions and disease, and can sometimes be beneficial too.
Our genotype is the set of genes in our DNA which is responsible for a particular trait. Our phenotype is the physical expression, or characteristics, of that trait.
What is Nature is our Genotype, the genes which with we are born and from which we are predisposed. What is Nurture is our Phenotype, how we evolve based on our Epigenetics
“Genetics only places the arrow in the bowstring. It is your lifestyle and environment that draws the bow and shoots the arrow. Your future health is the target”
Epigenetics affects how the genes are read. Epigenetics are factors that cause certain genes to become dormant or active. Epigenetics does not change the genes you were born with or a mutated gene. Instead it changes how the gene expresses. Good Epignetics can result in an Alzheimer’s gene not expressing itslf, while bad Epigenetics can result in a even a good gene expressing itself negatively
How we sleep and how we relax have been proven repeatedly to impact our genes. Not sleeping well is a powerful Mediator
Whether we exercise or not, and whether the form of our exercise is suitable to us is deeply impoprtant. What works for one may not work for another. In someone with Adrenal dysfunction, stressful exercise like a 108 Sun Salutations done often can be a negative Mediator
How we eat and how we hydrate ourselves can turn genes on or off. Constant stress from inflammatory foods can turn bad genes on, while nourishing anti-inflammatory food can turn the same genes off
How we respond to stress and how resilient we become is a profound mediator.
How our relationships and social networks are. “Social genomics is the field of research that examines why and how different social factors and processes (e.g., social stress, conflict, isolation, attachment, etc.) affect the activity of the genome.”
If Genetics is our innate Nature, Epigenetics is how we Nurture. In the age old fight for supremacy between Nature vs Nurture, The nurturing power of Epigenetics puts the power back in our hands
So what does Epigenetics mean? It means that we do not have to simply accept our genes. Epigenetics has the power to both negatively and positively impact genes and this is profound!
Epigenetics means you do not have to sit back in fear and wait for what you thought were inevitable genes to express. It means that you decide whether those genes will express themselves or rather, be turned on.
Epigenetics mean that the power is back in your hands, and that in the case of genes, Nurture can be as powerful as Nature! It really is upto you.