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Nature & Nurture-a new twist

Our life choices affect our genes and so the genetic make- up of future generations

Our life choices affect our genes and so the genetic make- up of future generations

One of the things that we discuss frequently in our blogs and our book, Nourish the Flame Within, is the power of the environment around us and how it can profoundly affect our influence and well- being. We are not isolated beings. We are interconnected with our environment and that includes the people in our lives. There are factors that affect us in covert and overt ways. This has new meaning to me since reading Bruce Lipton’s book “The Biology of Belief”.

He argues that The Human Genome Project, started in the 1980s, was supposed to pave the way to our understanding of what it is to be human and how we would be able to cure ourselves of many of the diseases that blight our lives. Genes, found in the nucleus of every cell in the body, are made of DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid). In the past, the nucleus has been thought of as the brain of the cell, master- minding and orchestrating the going’s on in each cell.

Evidence points to the contrary, including examples in which the nucleus of a cell is completely removed, experimentally, and still the cell survives for a couple of months. Indeed, red blood cells have no nucleus, yet effectively transport oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the cells of the body for approximately 100- 120 days (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_blood_cell)! What Lipton’s and others’ research have found is that the nucleus is more of a blueprint library of our potential, and that it is down to “environmental influences, including nutrition, stress and emotions” that effect what genes are expressed and when.

“Single- gene disorders affect less than 2% of the population; the vast majority of people come into this world with genes that should enable them to live a happy and healthy life” Lipton tells us and continues by saying that “today’s scourges- diabetes, heart disease and cancer- are not the result of a single gene, but of complex interactions among multiple genes and environmental factors.”

What is also fascinating is that these environmental conditions can change the chemical structure of the DNA that makes up our genes without actually changing the basic blueprint library. These changes can be passed on to our children. The developing science that studies these ideas is called Epigenetics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics) and it has contributed significantly to the nature and nurture discussion. Subtle chemical modifications to DNA that make up genes can lead to two thousand or more different forms of genes expressed.

There is still a lot more research that needs to be done, but we are learning that our daily choices affect not just our lives, but the lives of future generations. Mindful living I am confident will intuitively lead us to wise choices and greater well- being for all. I believe that deep down we know what is best for our present and our future and science will in time prove our intuitive actions to be wise and correct.