The science of epigenetics is just getting started, but promises to deliver big changes to the way we treat disease, understand heredity, and detect the hidden truth. Epigenetics is the term used to describe inheritance by mechanisms other than through the DNA sequence of genes. Researchers found that chronic exposure to a stress hormone causes modifications to DNA. A mutation is a change in DNA, the hereditary material of life. An organism’s DNA affects how it looks, how it behaves, and its physiology. So a change in an organism’s DNA can cause changes in all aspects of its life. Mutations are essential to evolution; they are the raw material of genetic variation. Epigenetic inheritance is an unconventional finding. What you experience in your lifetime can modify your DNA, and these changes can be passed down through the generations. It goes against the idea that inheritance happens only through the DNA code that passes from parent to offspring. It means that a parent’s experiences, in the form of epigenetic tags, can be passed down to future generations. Epigenetic mechanisms is important for long-term storage of information.

Epigenome changes as we develop but also due to a host of other reasons that scientists are just starting to understand. Epigenetic changes are also a part of brain diseases such as mental illness and addiction. Child abuse is an environmental factor that leaves an epigenetic mark on the brain. People who commit suicide have less-active protein production. Drugs of abuse such as cocaine trigger epigenetic changes in certain brain regions, affecting hundreds of genes at a time. Some of these changes remain long after the drug has been cleared from the system. We know that smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity, obesity, psychological stress, trauma, physical stress, infectious diseases, environmental pollutants, sun exposure, working night shift and countless other environmental factors can change our epigenomes. Experiences that our parents and grandparents had got before we were born may also impact on our lives.

For instance, during WWII, the Germans cut off food supplies to parts of the Netherlands causing a famine. Babies were born to women during this time had been found to have a lower birthweight. When those babies grew up and had their own babies, the third generation had significantly more problems with diabetes and obesity than the rest of the population. What human looked like after enduring such a global history of as many civilization evolutions as wars! Warmongers could be those who knew the reason why they had made wars on earth!


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Outflow: a large amount of money, liquid, or people that moves or is transferred out of a place

Outflank: move round the side of an enemy so as to outmanoeuvre them

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Outgroup: those people who do not belong to a specific in-group

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Outlook: a person’s point of view or general attitude to life

Outcome: the way a thing turns out

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Outcrop: a rock formation that is visible on the surface

Outcry: a strong expression of public disapproval or anger

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Outburst: a sudden release of strong emotion

Outboard: on, towards, or near the outside of a ship or aircraft

Outbreeding: breeding from parents not closely related

Outtake: a scene, sequence, or song filmed or recorded for a film, programme, or record album but not included in the final version


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