Epigenetics, medicine, and consciousness (not matter) as fundamental

#1
I found this Thinking Allowed video very interesting. It touches on epigenetics, medicine and consciousness. I'm not saying I agree with everything said, but strikes me that prof. Kenneth R. Pelletier is much more open-minded than your average academic, and his credentials in this area seem pretty solid. He seems to be on the cusp of a coming revolution in medicine. Watch it and see what you think:

 
#2
Hmmm - he seemed a bit Panglossian to me - everything can be improved so easily!

I really wonder how reproducible the research that he quotes is.. As I understand it, the reading of epigenetic information from DNA is far more primitive at this time as compared with the reading of DNA itself. For anyone wanting some details of epigenetics, this is the book:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JFVOLZK/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
Basically DNA gets decorated with methyl groups and acetyl groups that modify its expression - i.e. how much of its protein product is produced. These are generally stripped off in the germ cells, but not completely - so certain characteristics can get passed on that way. For examples parents that survived famine can give rise to children who are likewise more resistant to famine, but tend to grow fat in times of plenty.

I don't know why they both talk of a computer hard drive as an example of information that cannot be modified - because we modify the contents of our computer hard drives all the time!

David
 
#3
Hmmm - he seemed a bit Panglossian to me - everything can be improved so easily!

I really wonder how reproducible the research that he quotes is.. As I understand it, the reading of epigenetic information from DNA is far more primitive at this time as compared with the reading of DNA itself. For anyone wanting some details of epigenetics, this is the book:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JFVOLZK/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
Basically DNA gets decorated with methyl groups and acetyl groups that modify its expression - i.e. how much of its protein product is produced. These are generally stripped off in the germ cells, but not completely - so certain characteristics can get passed on that way. For examples parents that survived famine can give rise to children who are likewise more resistant to famine, but tend to grow fat in times of plenty.

I don't know why they both talk of a computer hard drive as an example of information that cannot be modified - because we modify the contents of our computer hard drives all the time!

David
The book you mention is around 8 years old and epigenetics is moving fast. And under some definitions epigenesis includes more than methylation/acetylation:

Epigenetic changes modify the activation of certain genes, but not the genetic code sequence of DNA. The microstructure (not code) of DNA itself or the associated chromatin proteins may be modified, causing activation or silencing. This mechanism enables differentiated cells in a multicellular organism to express only the genes that are necessary for their own activity. Epigenetic changes are preserved when cells divide. Most epigenetic changes only occur within the course of one individual organism's lifetime; however, these epigenetic changes can be transmitted to the organism's offspring through a process called transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. Moreover, if gene inactivation occurs in a sperm or egg cell that results in fertilization, this epigenetic modification may also be transferred to the next generation.[24]
Specific epigenetic processes include paramutation, bookmarking, imprinting, gene silencing, X chromosome inactivation, position effect, DNA methylation reprogramming, transvection, maternal effects, the progress of carcinogenesis, many effects of teratogens, regulation of histone modifications and heterochromatin, and technical limitations affecting parthenogenesis and cloning.
Other than methylation, I'm unsure what epigenetic effects are heritable, but it's a good bet that others are too, including the possibility of some that are yet to be discovered. This guy seems up-to-date in his knowledge -- so if he's Panglossian, it may be justified.

As to the hard drive thing, well, it's only a metaphor and can't be stretched too far beyond its limits, as I'm sure both Pelletier and Mishlove realise.
 
#4
Other than methylation, I'm unsure what epigenetic effects are heritable, but it's a good bet that others are too, including the possibility of some that are yet to be discovered. This guy seems up-to-date in his knowledge -- so if he's Panglossian, it may be justified.
Well doesn't it sound a bit like what they were saying when the human genome was decoded?

David
 
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