As with the previous blog, this information is taken from the article Annotating the Book of Life by Regina Nuzzo.

Having seen how the environment affects the annotations of the DNA in our cells, we must ask “Is our DNA affected by our choices?” Early answers seem to affirm that idea. Research on laboratory mice indicates that the DNA of mice, neglected when they were young, changes for the better when they are later placed in a nurturing environment. Follow up showed that most of the negative annotations cause by neglect were erased by the nurturing change.

A study of experienced meditators showed that their inflammation-controlling genes changed in positive ways that are thought to improve the meditators’ responses to stress. This change was accomplished by their attendance at an eight hour seminar on breathing meditation. Imagine how daily meditation is improving their lives.

While epigenetics is in its infancy, preliminary results such as these are encouraging. It suggests that, just as the behavior of our ancestors has influenced our lives today, we have the opportunity to make positive choices that will improve the genes we will pass on to succeeding generations. We’re not talking only about physical health. Our choices can affect the mental, physical and emotional health of all people who will carry our genes in the future. Of course succeeding generations will have the same choices to make, just as we do today. Still, it is up to us to make healthy choices so we are doing our part for our descendants. Granted, we can only affect our part of the world. This early evidence tells us we can make a small difference. But logic indicates that if everyone makes better choices, the world will become a better place.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”   –  Mahatma Gandhi

 

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