Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beyond Genes

I was attending in Biopolis,
a few years back, a scientific conference
on Stem Cells, Cancers and Aging.

It was a prestigious International Conference and
the speakers were of great quality.

Among the many good seminars,
there was this speaker that impressed me with his topic on
Epigenetics of cancer cell development.

The lecture basically reinforced the idea of
the need to balance between Nature and Nurture --

Many people, including life scientists,
put a lot of emphasis/blames on genes,
when searching for the causes of diseases like cancer.
In such a process, they overlook the basics they learnt in school,
that it's always 50% genetic predisposition
and 50% environmental influence.

Life scientists nowadays work around the clock,
trying to screen out the very gene that causes
degenerative diseases, like pursuing for the Holy Grail.
But this speaker at the conference, pointed out that
his studies showed that genes do not sit
on the top of the hierachy of           
in the centre of disease pathology.

While genes are generally recognised the blueprints that control
the physiology of human body,
the speaker demonstrated that there are some other forms of
switches that control genes
(ie decides when, where and what genes should be turned on off).
These substances that maneuver life beyond genes
are termed epigenetic markers
(physically they are molecular modification of chromatin).

And when the speaker was asked:
If epigentic markers control genes,
then what control epigentic markers?
He answered in a reflex manner:
Environment and Diet.

His epigenetic study does not contradict
what scientists already known that genes
harbour the mysterious code of life;
but emphasizes the universal law of multiple dependency.

Like what I heard from the education officer
of Vegetarian Society, Mr Yeow,
"Gene is like the bullet loaded in a pistol,
and diet/lifestyle is the trigger we pull to fire the shot"

With metta,
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...