The following is a guest post by Duran Rivera, a freelance journalist and artist. You can find more of his work at Duran Rivera dot com.
There was a time where ‘love’ and ‘nurture’ seemed clearly distinct from our physical nature. Genetic-determinism holds that genes control our lives; hereditary information flows in one direction, and genes activity and cellular expression are regulated by information from the DNA. However, a few years ago, key findings from one of the most ambitious scientific projects of our time, the Human Genome Project rattled modern biology to its core. The project headed under the guidance of the US national Institutes of Health (NIH) expected to find that with over 100,000 proteins in the human body there needed to be a genetic blueprint to make each protein. What they found instead at least 120,000 genes, a human being with our 50 trillion cells, have an estimated 35,000, not too far off from a lowly roundworm. Where were all the other genes to dictate the human condition? A new scientific understanding has picked up steam in modern times to change the conversation of biology and provide unexpected answers.
Epigenetics is a genetic science, which has become a cutting edge biological phenomenon within the last 10-15 years. The prefix epi-means “above”, so the new science literally means control from above the genes. Studies show that genes are incapable of activating their own expression and are not self-emergent or self-actualizing. Instead gene activity can be activated or deactivated by environmental signals, and more importantly, our perception of the environment. The cell membrane (the outer layer of a cell) is the organic equivalent of a computer chip and is the cell’s control center not the nucleus where most of the genes or DNA molecules are stored. Although this view conflicts with common scientific dogma, many scientific studies are showing this to be true.
Scientists like developmental cellular biologist Dr. Bruce H. Lipton have found that when the nucleus is taken out of the cell, the cell functions normally for over 2 months. During that time, the cell is eating, growing, communicating, eliminating waste, recognizing toxins and acting accordingly. This discovery leads to the conclusion that the nucleus is not the command center. Rather studies show that it’s a repository for different protein patterns. The nucleus is like a disc in a computer filled with genetic memory.
A Duke University biologist H. Frederik Nijhout stated that genes are not self-emergent and cannot “turn themselves on and off.” He emphasized that genes are simply blueprints. He says, “When a gene product is needed, a signal from its environment, not and emergent property of the gene itself, activates expression of that gene.” Simply put, environmental signals control the gene activity. The proteins have a regulatory function and act as a sleeve around the DNA. The environment influences the structure of the protein, which exposes and activates the genes. The environmental charges can be other molecules, atoms or energy. How the thousands of protein receptors and effectors in the cell membrane interpret it is key.
The ultimate conclusion by scientists like Dr. Bruce Lipton is that belief changes your genes. Two classes of genetic programs: growth/reproduction and protection. You’re interpretation of the environment selects what program to activate. Stress suppresses the immune system. We stymie our own growth when we look at life in fear. Love enhances our health and enriches our entire being. Not everything is set and written in stone, the intangible qualities of a human being to rise above his/her physiological and environmental holdings are now finding scientific basis. The choice is yours.