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Thread: Behavioral epigenetics - nature can effect our nature !

  1. #1 Behavioral epigenetics - nature can effect our nature ! 
    Forum Freshman scishark's Avatar
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    I'm new but this topic doesn't seem to have been explored here

    In the past decade, the age old question of nature versus nurtured has been answered by the solution, “can’t it be both”. It turns out that experiences in our childhood may alter our DNA through the process of DNA methylation (think of this as a switch that turns on and off certain genes). What this means is that nurture might also change nature; not only change emotionally, but we also change physically.

    Scientifically, this subject has been called “behaviour epigentics” and is one of the hottest topics in this decade. The experiment that started this off was the examination of rats brought up in different environments. Some rat mothers would nurture their pups by licking and grooming them; whilst others would mostly ignore their pups. Rats that were raised by negligent mothers were found to be more sensitive to stress (so if you grew up in a nurturing environment you might cope with stress better). The response to stress was measured chemically via the detection of cortistorne (a hormone - chemical messenger that is sent throughout the body). The scientists proposed that this is due to the reduced number of glucocorticoid receptors (a protein that is expressed in DNA) these rats had and this is in turn attributed to methylation in the DNA. Hence different upbringings that rats experience are correlated with in DNA expression.

    How this experiment relates to human beings has been a topic of great scientific debate. Important questions such as the long term effects of childhood abuse have been proposed and examined. Initial findings suggested an increased amount of DNA methylation. However, as with all things relating to humans, experimental evidence is much harder to obtain and hence it is much more difficult to provide a concrete answer.

    This is part of my full discussion on epigenetics on my blog post, you can read the full article here

    http://scishark.com/2011/03/epigenetics/

    Since I don't have a forum on this subject feel free to discuss it here!


    http://www.scishark.com - Interesting science blog with some humor on the side

    http://scishark.com/2011/03/epigenetics/ - Epigenetics
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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Its both, DNA and Environment, (and from one perspective DNA is part of the enviroment), the environment changes and these changes affect the enironment, and we change the environment with our actions or with our behavior if you wish (and will be able to change the part of it we call DNA).


    The environment is quite important, and we are a part of it.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman Bellerophon's Avatar
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    Epigenetics are really cool

    The studies you mention really show the importance of attachment and early rearing experiences. Another study on rats showed that rats who where exposed to high levels of maternal licking behaviour, themselves showed high levels of maternal licking towards their own offspring whereas rats who were raised by mothers who licked them less, exhibited less maternal licking towards their offspring (Champagne, Francis, Mar & Meaney, 2003; Champagne, 2008). This means that we not only inherit our parents' DNA, but also, to some extent, the environment in which our parents were raised in.

    How cool is that!
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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman scishark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellerophon
    Epigenetics are really cool

    The studies you mention really show the importance of attachment and early rearing experiences. Another study on rats showed that rats who where exposed to high levels of maternal licking behaviour, themselves showed high levels of maternal licking towards their own offspring whereas rats who were raised by mothers who licked them less, exhibited less maternal licking towards their offspring (Champagne, Francis, Mar & Meaney, 2003; Champagne, 2008). This means that we not only inherit our parents' DNA, but also, to some extent, the environment in which our parents were raised in.

    How cool is that!
    thus behavior that passes through generations.
    interesting
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