Epigenetics, Scientific Inquiry and Uncertainty
Posted on September 20, 2014 Comments (1)
Science is full of fascinating ideas. Epigenetics is one area I find particularly interesting. This previous post has a few links to learning more: DNA Passed to Descendants Changed by Your Life.
Angela Saini is one 109 people I follow on Twitter. I don’t see the point in “following” people on Twitter that you have no interest in, I only follow the small number of people that post Tweets I want to read.
In, Epigenetics: genes, environment and the generation game, Angela Saini looks at the confused state of current scientific understand now. It is very difficult to tell if, and if so, to what extent, epigenetic inheritance happens in people.
Professor Timothy Bestor, a geneticist at Columbia University in New York, is far more damning, claiming that the entire field has been grossly overhyped. “It’s an extremely fashionable topic right now. It’s very easy to get studies on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance published,” he says, adding that all this excitement has lowered critical standards.
Related: Epigenetic Effects on DNA from Living Conditions in Childhood Persist Well Into Middle Age – Medical Study Findings too Often Fail to Provide Us Useful Knowledge – Scientific Inquiry Process Finds That Komodo Dragons Don’t have a Toxic Bite After All
Epigenetics: the burden of proof vs the folly of dismissal by Anne Buchanan
One should also keep in mind that trans-generational correlation can look very much like regular genetic transmission and make a trait look ‘genetic’ in the classical sense, rather than in the epigenetic sense.
It clearly befalls those advocating, and those dismissing, epigenetic inheritance to keep their powder dry until we can see more clearly into the whites of the genome’s eyes…