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Thread: Can I change my genes by exercise??

  1. #1 Can I change my genes by exercise?? 
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    Basic genetics says that fat people have fat kids and skinny people, skinny kids. So if I was born fat, I'm more likely to have fat kids, right? But if I were to go to the gym everyday and exercise, and I lose weight, does that affect the likelihood of my children being fat? I may have lost weight, but my genes still have "FAT" written on them - if you know what I mean - and its my genes that will be passed on.

    For eg, a fat, overweight couple had a set of identical boys who grow up to be overweight. Both these boys then go on to marry a set of identical twin girls. After spending a large amount of time at the gym, one of the boys (A) loses weight and becomes a super fit tri-athlete. Both couples then have kids. Are boy A's children less likely to be overweight because the father became really fit? Or does his weight/fitness level not affect the genes he passes on to his children?

    Conversely, if I was born average sized, but then let myself go really badly, will my children's likelihood of being average sized be affected aswell?


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  3. #2  
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    Nope nothing we can do to slim those eggs and sperm. But...

    what we can do is eat a ton of fried food and wreck fertility, possibly give our children birth defects. Or apply social pressure. Then those genes don't reproduce.

    On the other hand with education and discipline we may see health-conscious generations who should be fat, actually in better shape than average. The younger generations of Canadian Natives are doing basically just that regarding alcoholism, which is said to be in the genes.


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    That’s good to know. I can now really let myself go….
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    There are sources that mention about fat genes being good as the body has a better ability to store fat in case of need. This is due to evolution of man from stone age where food were scarce as compared to what we have now. Also the dietary culture of modern living has contributed to more people being overweight. Some may even be thin but still have problems with high cholesterol etc. I feel that we eat too much meat and poultry today. We've grown accustomed to having a meat/poultry dish each day. Our ancestors would only have some meat during special holidays.

    I would say don't worry too much, just stay healthy.
    ~ One’s ultimate perfection depends on the development of all the members of society ~ Kabbalah
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SE15
    That’s good to know. I can now really let myself go….
    How you raise your kids will probably have more influence on their general fitness than your genes will. A part of that will always be leading by example :wink:

    It's also very helpful for your kids if you don't die from a heart attack at 40. They really don't like that.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    You can change your genes by exposing yourself to a mutagen. So I suggest eating lots of food that contains mutagens.

    Interestingly that is how they got their 'transgenic' mice in the 50s and 60s. They exposed them to mutagens and selected for interesting phenotypes.

    Some of these mouse lines are still in use, such as the Tabby mouse line.

    Maybe there is a future for you too.
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    Mutagens only work during the embryo stage. In a grown adult, best case scenario is you get a tumor and die. Worst case scenario is you get an auto-immune disease from your immune system no longer recognizing the mutated parts of your body. Or you might just die outright.
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  9. #8  
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    No but you can change muscle fiber types, lower cortisol levels and speed up electron transport through the electron transport chain in mitochondrion, potentially preventing free radical buildup, especially in the first complex of the chain.
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    not to mention become a turtle, gain super human healing or control the weather

    amirite?
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  11. #10  
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    The answer is no you cannot change your DNA sequence... but you can change the expression of genes. I don't know if you have heard of epigenetics and DNA methylation? I don't know of it changing a trait like one that you have suggested but I imagine it may be possible. Check it out on wikipedia.

    I'm not an expert in epidemiology but a fat adult would only have become fat in the first place due to their environment (too much food not enough exercise). You might have genes that predispose you to gain weight more easily but not 'fat' genes. If a fat person has a child then the child is likely to be in an environment with lots of food as the parents lifestyle would probably be highly calorific with little exercise which is what probably makes it look like fat people have fat children.
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    Quote Originally Posted by newnothing
    There are sources that mention about fat genes being good as the body has a better ability to store fat in case of need. This is due to evolution of man from stone age where food were scarce as compared to what we have now. Also the dietary culture of modern living has contributed to more people being overweight. Some may even be thin but still have problems with high cholesterol etc. I feel that we eat too much meat and poultry today. We've grown accustomed to having a meat/poultry dish each day. Our ancestors would only have some meat during special holidays.

    I would say don't worry too much, just stay healthy.
    Having the ability to store as much fat as possible in the past would have been beneficial for our ancestors in times of famine. Our stone age genomes have not had time to adapt to the space age lifestyles of today which is probably the cause of the majority of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases we see today. I don't think that eating too much meat would cause us problems. It is probably just the excess amounts of tasty fat.

    P.S. can someone tell me how to double quote because I keep double posting!
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  13. #12  
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    Please relay off-topic messages via PM, not in the thread itself. Thank you.
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    Lamarckian evolution rears it's ugly head yet again.
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  15. #14  
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    Surely the hypothesis 'fat people have fat kids" needs to be tested with adoptive families to tease apart genetics and upbringing. I am sceptical that fat people having fat children is primarily down to genetics.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molecular
    newnothing wrote:
    There are sources that mention about fat genes being good as the body has a better ability to store fat in case of need. This is due to evolution of man from stone age where food were scarce as compared to what we have now. Also the dietary culture of modern living has contributed to more people being overweight. Some may even be thin but still have problems with high cholesterol etc. I feel that we eat too much meat and poultry today. We've grown accustomed to having a meat/poultry dish each day. Our ancestors would only have some meat during special holidays.

    I would say don't worry too much, just stay healthy.


    Having the ability to store as much fat as possible in the past would have been beneficial for our ancestors in times of famine. Our stone age genomes have not had time to adapt to the space age lifestyles of today which is probably the cause of the majority of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases we see today. I don't think that eating too much meat would cause us problems. It is probably just the excess amounts of tasty fat.
    Hehe you're right, and the butter and cream. I think we need to worry less about genes and more about the environment. If we expose ourselves to healthy diets, frequent exercise and healthy living practices, the health risks posed by being fat can definitely be reduced.
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    there was a recent study done concerning genes and suicide victims that were beaten as children. The study showed that the people who were beaten as children had suppressed specific genes relating to stress. Perhaps environmental factors changing a genes activity after birth isn't so far fetched?
    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt" - Bertrand Russell
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  18. #17  
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    Of course you can change your genome sequence. it changes every time a cell divides.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Of course you can change your genome sequence. it changes every time a cell divides.
    It does? I don't think is does. It does in sex cells but they are for your children.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molecular
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Of course you can change your genome sequence. it changes every time a cell divides.
    It does? I don't think is does. It does in sex cells but they are for your children.
    Mutations and mistakes happen every time DNA copying happens, which happens every time your cells divide. However, many of these mistakes are caught and re-corrected by error-catching mechanisms, and those that go uncaught and affect the functioning of the cell are identified by the body and and removed, and some go uncaught by all these mechanisms and cause things like cancer.

    But it is not consciously directed - you can't cause changes in certain genes through certain types of behavior as a whole organism. It is basically random, like all mutation is.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  21. #20  
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    It's not a conscious effort, but you can help the process by exposing yourself to mutagens.

    And if you get really really lucky, one of your children might get a nice mutation.

    Most don't though.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BumFluff
    there was a recent study done concerning genes and suicide victims that were beaten as children. The study showed that the people who were beaten as children had suppressed specific genes relating to stress. Perhaps environmental factors changing a genes activity after birth isn't so far fetched?
    Changing expression based on environmental factors isn't novel at all, it's a well known fact. This isn't changing the genes themselves though.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    It's not a conscious effort, but you can help the process by exposing yourself to mutagens.

    And if you get really really lucky, one of your children might get a nice mutation.

    Most don't though.
    Such mischief.
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  24. #23  
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    I guess there are actually people walking around that have transgenic tissue in them.

    Some of them didn't quite survive the ordeal, but there must be still some around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    It's not a conscious effort, but you can help the process by exposing yourself to mutagens.

    And if you get really really lucky, one of your children might get a nice mutation.

    Most don't though.
    Evil.
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  26. #25  
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    Science has no morals. Just truths.
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Science has no morals. Just truths.
    I've tried living that way. It can wear one down quickly. When my uncle died at 55, I felt nothing. When my 24 year old cousin died of a heroin overdose, I felt nothing. When my grandmother died at 80 of lung cancer, I felt nothing. When my aunt died at 65, I felt more. The reason? I had had a year long string of nearly constant panic attacks the year before. Why? I don't know but I assume that reining in my emotions was very detrimental to my mental health. I had diarrhea, headaches, vomiting spells, feelings of faintness...feeling like I was on the verge of death every minute of everyday (my brain kept saying "you're going to die, you're going to die".. my amygdular response was in overdrive and I couldn't shut it off). And hearing about Tim Russert dying freaked me out even more. He had an enlarged heart, something many young athletes have (a problem that can result in sudden cardiac death), although his heart was enlarged for different reasons. A few years ago my family physician told my that my heart was a bit enlarged from heavy weight training. It made me think of how fragile our lives are and that we could die quite suddenly and it would all be over. I was afraid to sleep that year because I felt I may not wake up to see another day. I am currently taking Citalopram to combat derealization, depression, anxiety and the resulting gastrointestinal problems. Anyway, I began to feel things VERY intensely. Scarily intensely. So much so that tears seemed inadequate. My message? Science may have no morals but you personally should. We can't pretend to seperate ourselves from the rest of humanity by being cold. Emotions are important; without them you would have no passion for science or anything else for that matter.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Science has no morals. Just truths.
    I've tried living that way. It can wear one down quickly. When my uncle died at 55, I felt nothing. When my 24 year old cousin died of a heroin overdose, I felt nothing. When my grandmother died at 80 of lung cancer, I felt nothing. When my aunt died at 65, I felt more. The reason? I had had a year long string of nearly constant panic attacks the year before. Why? I don't know but I assume that reining in my emotions was very detrimental to my mental health. I had diarrhea, headaches, vomiting spells, feelings of faintness...feeling like I was on the verge of death every minute of everyday. And hearing about Tim Russert dying freaked me out even more. He had an enlarged heart, something many young athletes have (a problem that can result in sudden cardiac death), although his heart was enlarged for different reasons. A few years ago my family physician told my that my heart was a bit enlarged from heavy weight training. It made me think of how fragile our lives are and that we could die quite suddenly and it would all be over. I was afraid to sleep that year because I felt I may not wake up to see another day. I am currently taking Citalopram to combat derealization, depression, anxiety and the resulting gastrointestinal problems. Anyway, I began to feel things VERY intensely. Scarily intensely. So much so that tears seemed inadequate. My message? Science may have no morals but you personally should. We can't pretend to seperate ourselves from the rest of humanity by being cold. Emotions are important; without them you would have no passion for science or anything else for that matter.
    Physiological cardiac hypertrophy is totally different to pathological cardiac hypertrophy. If your heart has grown from resistance training then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
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    Physiological cardiac hypertrophy is totally different to pathological cardiac hypertrophy. If your heart has grown from resistance training then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
    :x Damn family physicians..they are always spreading lies!!! What about making a congenital condition worse by further enlarging an already enlarged heart? (not sure if this includes me or not, but just want to know)
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  30. #29  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Science has no morals. Just truths.
    I've tried living that way. .
    Science isn't a way of living.
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Physiological cardiac hypertrophy is totally different to pathological cardiac hypertrophy. If your heart has grown from resistance training then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
    :x Damn family physicians..they are always spreading lies!!! What about making a congenital condition worse by further enlarging an already enlarged heart? (not sure if this includes me or not, but just want to know)
    I don't actually know but I would assume it would not change anything. I would assume that because the heart has physiologically grown adaptively for the whole heart you would actually be less likely to then make a congenital condition worse. I know more about the molecular biology of these two rather than the physiology to be honest... something I need to recap.
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    It's also very helpful for your kids if you don't die from a heart attack at 40.
    It was a good career move for Elvis.
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