!!> Reading ➵ The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance ➭ Author Nessa Carey – Tactical-player.co.uk

The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance I m a layman to the topic of genetics and I d never read about epigenetics, except in reference This book was both an enjoyably easy read and mind expanding.In sixteen chapters the ground was laid that there s to it than just DNA and from there it s a fast and compelling story building up the case for epigenetics, via some basics on cell development pathways, the gene and ageing.It gets pretty heavy in the last third making reference to lots of proteins, histones, methylation that are likely easy picking for the biologists, but take concentration from me though I don t think I lost the thread.By the end I was energised by the possibilities for health, ageing and just making life better though the author was careful to say at the end that there a lot they still don t know and it will take time, maybe a lot of time if trans generational studies are needed.Essential reading for those interested D.N.A Deoxyribonucleic Acid has very much found it s way into the vernacular of our language Most of us I think can very easily form a mental picture of a double helix, recall the letters G C T A from our science lessons, and understand that these letters somehow form the building blocks of who we are Most of us will have a grasp on how hereditary genetic traits work, and some of us might even know a few clever facts, like that Identical Twins have the exact same D.N.A.And yet Identical Zygotic Twins, over their life cycle, can turn out different in many ways Why Our cell life is a lot complex than just the template of our D.N.A there are other factors playing on the top of this genetic code, switching certain options off and on Welcome to the world Epigenetics.As someone who had heard of this term being banded around in science articles and TV shows, I wanted to learn a little bit after all, when I did Biology at School in the mid 1990 s this stuff certainly wasn t mentioned on the public radar.Nessa Carey has written an excellent book helping numpties like myself grasp hold of this new and exiting field in biology It s not a book that is shy of using biological terminology, and it involved me grappling with imagery that I had never even imagined before but that s the exciting thing about science As well as providing you with the knowledge of why your male tortoiseshell cat will be infertile, this book will give you a greater appreciation of the complexity of life at a cellular level. This is a great book for anyone who like me, is trying to make sense of what is really going on in the genome, in that it brings together many facts from research papers I ve given it five stars for this reason, and despite my many criticisms below, because it tackles an incredibly complex subject in an understandable and fascinating way The criticisms come from my intense prior involvement in the subject, and are challenges to some of the ideas which I hope might help other readers The book fails to put over the central story regarding the big question, what is going on in the genome and to what ends I say this because the reader is led to believe that epigenetics explains many things that could not be explained before, such as how cells acquire their individual identity and retain it over decades Methylation, we are told here, has been said to be virtually irreversible, so it fits the bill, but as we are later told the effects of methylation can be undone by further addition Notable for their absence are the terms transcription factor , and genetic cascade they are not even in the index , though they are the bedrock of genetic theory complex books have been written explaining cell fate and development in these terms, and we have no reason to dump the existing theory A gene can make a protein which is a transcription factor, which can turn off another gene, and there is no reason why that gene cannot go on doing that in a cell and it s copies, through various mechanisms, ad infinitum no need for methylation to suppress the gene We should really be asking what methylation adds to the existing processes It may be belt and braces , or it may be, as I think, much complex than that.Again, later in the book, it is suggested that the permanence of methylation makes it the ideal candidate as the cause of PTSD post traumatic stress disorder Only after this idea has been developed in detail is it stated that memory may also be epigenetically determined Memory, of course, is a far bigger subject than PTSD, and a very complicated one in which the growth of both new connections and new synapses and possibly glial cells has long been recognised as a perfectly good explanation of how neurons build and strengthen association These processes may indeed be under control of epigenetics, but epigenetics isn t necessary for an explanation again transcription factor cascades, or just the fact that synapses remain once they have been induced to form by neural firing are sufficient PTSD undoubtedly arises out of memory and especially emotional memory which appears to get separated from other memories, but memory is a much complex process than can just be put down to epigenetics I m not saying that epigenetics isn t important I think it s hugely important just that Carey tends to jump to conclusions in a less than thorough way.There is much mention of mental illness in the book, again with methylation implicated especially in the diseases of PTSD and depression While the author does a great, and much needed job of explaining how paradigm shifts can take a long time in science because of inertia in the system which resists the overthrow of established ideas, she is clearly unaware of the paradigm shift that has long been underway in the field of so called mental illness , especially in the UK, where DSM the Diagnostic Statistical Manual has long been viewed with disdain by many psychiatrists, clinical psychogist, and therapists I suspect that the author s involvement in the pharmaceuticals field has blinded her to this Many experts, such as Professor Richard Bental Doctoring the Minds and Madness Explained regard depression and even schizophrenia as understandable consequences of pressure from society and family see also R D Laing s Politics of the Family etc and Bateson s double bind hypothesis Carey s search for a simple cause , though valid to some degree, is much too crude, and ignores so many complex factors Her quoting of identical twin studies too often glibly trotted out in general needs to be questioned Even twins who grow up together don t share the same experiences one might have been traumatised, chastised, or otherwise changed in a fleeting moment while the other was absent this is what creates differing personalities, and it does so through memory, the functioning of the mind, and even psychosomatic effects All of these are down to neural networks, and we don t understand the functioning of neural networks yet, even at a quite basic level It s jumping to conclusions to think that epigenetics is suddenly the key to mental illness An interesting fact about PTSD which caught my attention years ago, is that the commonly prescribed beta blocker, propranolol, has been found to prevent PTSD if given to soldiers prior to battle It is also said to kill conscience , and there is considerable evidence from research that emotional memories are erased and then put back when we remember events, and that re living traumatic events while taking propranolol can block that putting back This poses serious questions for the role of methylation how is the methylation in neurons involved in emotional memories undone every time we remember something and if memories are constantly erased and put back, even those causing PTSD, doesn t that rather conflict with the argument that the permanence of methylation is the key And does propranolol in fact affect methylation or some process around it a topic for research As I said, I m not the average reader, having been passionately involved in these subjects for thirty or years, and I know just how mind bogglingly complicated they are becoming All the credit to Nessa Carey for tackling them in a book now, because studying papers is exhausting and takes time, even when you have access to them, and we need books that try to summarise, and access to other s ideas, if what E O Wilson calls consilience across science disciplines is to be achieved A great book, and I look forward to reading the next one on Junk DNA when it comes out. At The Beginning Of This Century Enormous Progress Had Been Made In Genetics The Human Genome Project Finished Sequencing Human DNA It Seemed It Was Only A Matter Of Time Until We Had All The Answers To The Secrets Of Life On This Planet

About the Author: Nessa Carey

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance book, this is one of the most wanted Nessa Carey author readers around the world.

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