Did you know that your environment and what you eat can affect your genetic expression, and even that of your descendents? This also means that what your grandparents ate and experienced may affect you today. The reason is found in the epigenome*, in other words “above the gene.”
“It is like the software to DNA’s hardware, and is comprised of chemical marks and switches that lie along the length of the double helix and help turn the expression of certain genes on or off. New data indicates that the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cancer is influenced by persistent adaptations to prenatal and early postnatal nutrition.
In fact, only a single genetic or epigenetic event is required to alter the function of an imprinted gene. This genomic imprinting plays a vital role in the genesis of human diseases and behavioral disorders.”
The implications of these findings are staggering, in that science supports the teachings of the Bible regarding stewardship of the mind and body. The decisions we make with regard to our physical selves, education, environment, social circles, and spiritual life directly affect our children’s chances for success or failure in this world as well as God’s kingdom. When we willfully disobey the requirements of God, we separate ourselves from Him and hurt our unborn generations. On the other hand, there is hope:
“And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” Genesis 22:18
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
The Bible calls us to be good stewards of our time, money, body and environment. Not only because we belong to God, but because it is beneficial. He loves us, and through His word, teaches us how to thrive. When it comes to health, people often don’t consider the gravity of their choices because they assume “it’s their body” and “it doesn’t concern others.” Science now indicates otherwise. It’s something to think about seriously, because we are our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper.
“The unhealthful practices of past generations affect the children and youth of today. Mental inability, physical weakness, disordered nerves, and unnatural cravings are transmitted as a legacy from parents to children.” E.G. White
“It may get to a point where they realize that you live your life as sort of a guardian of your genome. You have to be careful of it because it’s not just you. You can’t be selfish. You can’t say I’ll smoke or do whatever, because I’m prepared to die early. You’re also looking after it for your children and grandchildren.” The Ghost in Your Genes – BBC Horizon
All things considered, it is very important to remember that this is not the complete picture. However, it is food for thought…
*An epigenome consists of a record of the chemical changes to the DNA and histone proteins of an organism; these changes can be passed down to an organism’s offspring. Learn more>>
5 part series – The Ghost in Your Genes – BBC Horizon
Additional Resources for Epigenetics:
Epigenetics “The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance” by Richard C. Francis.
Epigenetics: How Genes and Environment Interact