Most of you are familiar with the beautiful ‘Double Helix’ shape of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) discovered at Kings College London in the early 1950’s by Rosalind Franklin, and you are aware that we inherit our genes from our parents.
When we run DNA test, we distinguish between mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA from the maternal line) and nDNA, (nuclear). These have to be separated out in order to test properly.
We also ‘cut’ the genes, to look for particular areas which are known to hold certain information which has been mapped and we can relate to certain things.
For example, we can test for what colour the fur might be in an animal
Let’s say we have a dna sample of a dog, and two potential owners of that dna, one blue merle, one black and white.
We could match the ‘colour’ genes to the dog.
However, what it they had a puppy, and it’s genes had both blue merle and black and white genes?
This is where epidenetics or gene expression comes in.
A gene can be ‘expressed’ or not, and it’s not always evident by the phenotype (by what you can see on the animal), in this coat colour example, it tends to be obvious, but it may not be on other, more health related genes.
Our genes are static, in that they don’t move around, what you are born with is the sequence that they should stay in, as long as mutation does not occur, however, your gene expression can change.
Gene expression can be changed by environmental factors, stress, illness and stochastic events.
Now, I don’t know anyone whose hair colour went from brown to red overnight without chemical help, but to white, or all falling out – that happens and is obvious due to phenotype.
Now, why have I said all this?
Because I’m increasingly seeing people worried about their genetic tests, which have become more popular since certain people started having body parts removed in order to mitigate the risk of cancer. Now, I’ve done those tests too, and my son has 74 very worrying mutations.
But here’s the thing.
You may have the genes which have been shown to be linked to certain diseases, however, they may not be expressed! In other words, that is no guarantee that you’ll develop those diseases.
Expression can be changed by environmental factors, stress, illness and stochastic events, so, that’s hypothetically you might get in a car crash and it could trigger that gene – which would be completely out of your control. However, it seems that environmental factors are more common for having that effect and that you can control and therefore you can mitigate the risk of the gene switching on, or possibly switch the gene off.
You can eat a clean diet, buy fresh organic produce, eat a paleo or ketogenic diet, avoid processed foods and drinks. Avoid environmental toxins, avoid household toxins, exercise, consume clean supplements, do nutritional balancing and detoxing and live a healthy lifestyle: that is your very best defense from the risk of methylation of those genes.
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