An article in the BBC web site claims that biology stands on the brink of a shift in the understanding of inheritance. The discovery of epigenetics – hidden influences upon the genes – could affect every aspect of our lives.
At the heart of this new field is a simple but contentious idea – that genes have a "memory." That the lives of your grandparents – the air they breathed, the food they ate, even the things they saw – can directly affect you, decades later, despite your never experiencing these things yourself. And that what you do in your lifetime could in turn affect your grandchildren.
Epigenetics adds a whole new layer to genes beyond the DNA. It proposes a control system of 'switches' that turn genes on or off – and suggests that things people experience, like nutrition and stress, can control these switches and cause heritable effects in humans.
You can read more in an article on the BBC web site at http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/ghostgenes.shtml.
DISCLAIMER: I am reporting this "contrarian view" because it is interesting. However, to be blunt, I don't believe it. This seems to contradict all the scientific evidence published to date. However, that doesn't stop me from reading contradictory claims. You might also want to know about this new theory. I'll let you decide whether or not you wish to believe it.
My thanks to MJ Bailey for telling me about this article.
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