Epigenetics Probably Affects Long Term Evolution

Discussion in 'Science' started by haidut, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. haidut

    haidut Member

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    This article adds even more support to the importance of the epigenome over the genome. It's still a bit too early to make a definitive announcement. However, if the evidence stands that epigenetic changes are inherited for more than a few generations then epigenetics certainly affects long term evolution even if it does not change our genes.
    Stay tuned, this is certain to shake to the core the so-called "modern evolutionary synthesis" (genetics).

    http://nautil.us/issue/31/stress/the-se ... of-fossils

    "...Most recently, Rick Smith of The University of Texas, Austin investigated epigenetics in Native American remains between 230 and 4,500 years old. Using bisulfite sequencing, he was able to identify methylation signatures in 29 of 30 samples—an unprecedented success rate. He is particularly interested in whether violence, starvation, and other kinds of stress in the last few thousand years left epigenetic impressions in the DNA of Native American tribes. “A growing body of evidence says trauma, famine, and violence in living human populations have long-lasting epigenetic effects, especially if they are experienced early in life. We can look for similar epigenetic patterns in ancient DNA from societies where we have good records showing they went through similar stress.”

    "...If epigenetic mutations themselves are inherited in animals and people, and survive for many generations, then they undoubtedly alter long-term evolution. The discrepancies Carmel discovered between the Neanderthal and human epigenomes hint at this possibility in our own evolutionary history, but these findings are based on just a few DNA samples. Until researchers amass sufficiently large libraries of ancient DNA, they cannot make more definitive conclusions. Which is why, every year, Cooper and his colleagues return to North America, roaming frigid black slopes and descending into caves in search of promising fossils. So far they have collected several hundred specimens spanning about 50,000 years."
     
  2. ThunderSpank

    ThunderSpank Member

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    I'm pretty sure Jesus made man from cat litter 6000 years ago.. Haidut fossils are a lie created by the devil!!!
     
  3. NathanK

    NathanK Member

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    I've always been fascinated by this. Especially when they studied the children of Holocaust survivors to see how they may have been effected. IIR, they found some interesting possibilities outside of just nurture.

    Its still early and won't be able to see any definitive trends until at least a few generations go by, but I think they've also looked into smoking and potential environmental factors. When I first heard of epigenetics probably in 2008 it really made me think of how I am living my life now, and how my parents and their parents lived, might effect my children's lives.

    Out of college I spent a couple years in investment banking on Wallstreet. This stuff is akin to leading and lagging economic indicators. Leading indicators can be temporary, but over an indeterminant amount of time can lead to more permanent trends. I see no reason why this wouldn't apply to nature and evolution. It makes a lot of sense to me. Then again, so did eating Paleo 5 years ago
     
  4. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Anyone have a rough estimate of how much epigenetic factors dictate gene expression? (Like a percentage?)
     
  5. Hugh Johnson

    Hugh Johnson Member

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    Almost all of it. Genes barely change, and humans are genetically basically chimps. Hell, genetically we are half banana.
     
  6. DaveFoster

    DaveFoster Member

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    Epigenetics has some impact on gene expression, but no one knows the degree of such impact at this time. Every allele (the form a gene takes on the chromosome) has a different affectability (that is, a propensity to be influenced by the environment).
     
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