In their most recent Special edition Time Magazine has focused on “How DNA Shapes Your Life”. There are twenty articles contributed by several writers containing the latest information about DNA. One article that caught my eye was “Annotating The Book Of Life” by Regina Nuzzo on page 48. In the first paragraph Nuzzo asks, “What if DNA is not your destiny?”

Once DNA was thought to be a set road map of our lives. Scientists now realize that we can affect portions of our DNA. Nuzzo writes (page 48), “That’s right, choices you made as a teenager could reach forward in time to affect the health of still-unborn descendants, and your own biological makeup likely reflects the experiences and environment your parents and grandparents encountered long before you were a twinkling in any of their eyes.”

These ideas come from a new field in biology called epigenetics, the study of how genes are affected by outside influences. This field of study raises new questions. How can environment affect, not the structure of DNA, but the genes within the DNA structure? Do these genes change quickly or over time?  Since some of our life-style choices can affect our choice of environment, do these choices also affect genes? Taking the question a step farther, which of our other choices have an affect on gene structures? Underlying these questions is the most important question: If our choices are affecting our genes, is it logical to suggest that we are, in fact, selecting our own path along the evolutionary trail of life? Or, put another way, is this an example of how we are co-creators with God? And hidden within these questions is the question of our responsibility of choice in connection with our descendants.

Next Blog: Examples of environmental effects on genes.