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DNA isn’t what it used to be

Every week, it seems, Darwinian evolution takes a new hit.  The old idea that genes regulate all inheritance, and only genes are involved, is now history.  It’s amusing that people want to change their DNA, a popular notion in the New Age field, because in fact DNA just isn’t that important any more.

Ever since the discovery of the human genome and the realization that we only have around 20,000 genes has made it totally impossible the human form could be inherited by this mechanism.  About 15% of our genes, are the same as a flower, and around 90% of our genes the same as those for a dolphin, so that leaves precious few genes to express any kind of human characteristics.

So this absurd mechanistic idea will take a long time to die, like the totally disproven Big Bang theory which still lingers, but eventually it will succumb.  In the meantime, I suggest all deep thinking people let go of the DNA model is little more than a chemical curiosity.

Please note, I am not supporting the Intelligent Design theory, meaning ideas of creation, depicted in the Bible.  When I put gasoline in my car I’m very clear that it comes from forests that grew 300 million years ago and wasn’t put there 4004 years ago, as The Bible claims.

I’m simply saying that science has a lot of holes in its main theories.  Many of you will know that in my book of Virtual Medicine, I pointed out the absolute absurdity of science which contradicts itself regularly, every quarter of a century or so.

The realisation that genes can be switched on and off with ease and are far from inviolate is a case in point.

What actually prompted these ramblings is a curious study I came across this morning, showing that a mother’s learning may be passed on to children.  This is not possible if the gene theory is supreme.

The study concerns preadolescent mice which were genetically engineered with a memory deficit.

This memory deficit was reversed when the mice were given two weeks of exposure to an enriched environment that included stimulatory objects, enhanced social interaction and voluntary exercise.

The offspring of these mice of course carried the same genetic mutation but the offspring showed no signs of memory problems, even though they were never placed in an enriched environment.  The mothers had passed on what they’d learned in the enriched environment.

What is especially important about the study is that the mice with genetically-flawed memories were provided with the enriched environment during preadolescence, months before the mice became pregnant (the equivalent of years before in humans).  Even so the offspring mice showed no memory deficit.

Previous research found that placing young, normal and memory-deficient mice in an enriched environment for a fairly short period of time unlocks an otherwise dormant biochemical and control mechanism that boosts a cellular process in nerve cells called long-term potentiation (LTP), which is believed to be involved in learning and memory.

Okay, this study was only on mice, but the implications for human beings are very far-reaching.  It goes some way, in fact, to underpinning the old prejudice that the “best” children come from the “best” people.  This idea has been discredited, since the discovery of supposedly fraudulent results by prejudiced British researcher Cyril Burt in the years from 1943 to 1966.

But what Burt believed appears to be true, in part.  If the mother is intelligent and stimulated and lives a rich life, she likely to pass on certain feelings, thoughts and behaviours to her children which will get them off to a good start.  The only difference between a new series and the old, is that it is not a genetic inheritance and therefore not proof of good breeding stock as Burt and the class-ridden society of the time liked to believe.

The findings were published in the Feb. 4 2009 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

FOOTNOTE:  the debate about Burt’s supposed fraud in support of his theory that IQ was inherited may itself have been mere prejudice. Unfortunately the accusations of fraud were only voiced after he died and was unable to defend his argument.

The post DNA isn’t what it used to be appeared first on Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby.

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