Please Explain: Epigenetics

Friday, December 04, 2009

The new science of epigenetics is changing our understanding of heredity, identity, and disease. On today’s edition of Please Explain, we’ll find out how environmental factors can change the way our genes function, and how the epigenome—which can be seen as the software that tells our DNA how to function—works. We’re joined by Dr. Dana Dolinoy, Searle Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan; and Dr. Randy Jirtle, Professor of Radiation Oncology at Duke University.


Dr. Dana Dolinoy, and Dr. Randy Jirtle,

Comments [13]

Christopher from Trenton, NJ

I love it when a listener calls in and makes the guest say "Whoa?!". It displays the caliber of your show Leonard, and that of your listeners.

Dec. 16 2009 07:06 AM
Mike from Manhattan

I think its also good to remember is that we have the genetic heritage of m,illions of years of adaptation on thi splanet from all out ancestors. If you have some power to invoke this , then you have the ability in some ways minor or major to adapt and survive anything

Dec. 04 2009 01:57 PM
Ed from New York

What is the effect of stress?

Dec. 04 2009 01:51 PM
jenny from maplewood

Any study on long term effect of use of electronic devices from computer to cell phone on people, on brain in perticular?

isn't it intuitive to think that the overexposure to them will do something to the brain?

Dec. 04 2009 01:51 PM

I steer absolutely clear of a great many "personal care" products and all cosmetics. Please comment on these.

Dec. 04 2009 01:48 PM

I mean asians do not eat tons of soy

Dec. 04 2009 01:38 PM
wendy from brooklyn

They've talked primarily of physical factors affecting the genome (diet, toxins, etc.). What about environmental factors that are primarily behavioral/emotional. For instance, can chronic exposure to abuse (emotional of physical) during development affect gene expression. What about people with severe depression?

Dec. 04 2009 01:38 PM

this is soy mythology - soy is goitrogenic

Dec. 04 2009 01:37 PM
Mike from Manhattan

Interesting avenue of consideration and food for thought. Remember reading in my college western history book about the mass neurosis and paranoia that profiled the middle ages in Europe. Also the effects of psyco active mold compounds on the rye that was eaten then. Brings new meaning to the line " The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Are we living in the genetic legacy of the "dark ages " of Europe?

Dec. 04 2009 01:37 PM

Also that the impact of western food on indigenous groups was evident in the next generation - and this process reversed with the reinstatement of their native diets

Dec. 04 2009 01:36 PM

Weston Price concluded from his research that proper nutrition supports the expression of perfect genetics and that improper nutrition impedes perfect expression of the genes. Lots of people now say it's about energy before genes.

Dec. 04 2009 01:34 PM
Lucy from New York

regarding the famine in Holland - would the children of women who suffer from severe morning sickness in the first trimester have the same epigenetic effects as the children in Holland?

Dec. 04 2009 01:31 PM
Estelle from Austin

Can environmental factors cause a BRCA mutation? My family carries a very rare BRCA2 mutation (only 9 people have tested positive for it through Myriad Labs). My mother grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, a refining town where they chewed tar like chewing gum, and played in the clouds trailing behind DDT trucks. Her father worked at a petroleum company. Could the mutation have first arisen in my grandfather, or perhaps in the reproductive process as my grandparents conceived their children?
Whenever I pose this question to a doctor, it gets pooh-poohed.

Dec. 04 2009 11:52 AM

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