The Missing Transgenerational Epigenetic Links

Lamarck and the Missing Lnc

Epigenetic changes accrued over an organism’s lifetime may leave a permanent heritable mark on the genome, through the help of long noncoding RNAs.

By Kevin V. Morris | October 1, 2012

Excerpt: “In one study carried out in mice, an environmental stress that resulted in aggressive behavior in males caused the same behavior in their offspring.”

Excerpt: “…. epigenetics, rather than random genetic point mutations, could provide the missing link between environmental pressure and the resulting genetic variability that generates robustness of a species.

Most certainly, if such a pathway were to exist in human cells, one would expect it to be elusive purely due to the sheer complexity of the process—involving lncRNAs, epigenetic changes, DNA methylation, and deamination. Thus, it is not out of the realm of possibility that such a mechanism exists, but has yet to be elucidated by science.

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My comment: I’m a medical labortory scientist. What did I fail to scientifically elucidate?

In an article published earlier this year, I detailed how an environmental drive evolved from that of nutrient chemical ingestion in unicellular organisms to that of socialization in insects. Using the honeybee model organism as an example, the article also makes it clear that food odors and pheromones cause changes in hormones, which also have developmental affects on behavior in nutrient-dependent, reproductively fit individuals across species of vertebrates.

It is the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones on intracellular signaling, on stochastic gene expression, and on genetically predisposed behavior that enable transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in species from microbes to man.  There are now hints in the literature (as indicated in the excerpt above) that transgenerational epigenetic effects on behavior are receiving the consideration that is due. But the idea that there are transgenerational epigenetic effects on behavior has already been substantiated by complete experimental evidence from every species that requires nutrient chemicals for individual survival and pheromones to control reproduction. How many species is that? All of them!

I wrote: “The concept that is extended is the epigenetic tweaking of immense gene networks in ‘superorganisms’ (Lockett, Kucharski, & Maleszka, 2012) that ‘solve problems through the exchange and the selective cancellation and modification of signals (Bear, 2004, p. 330)’. Those immense gene networks enable epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones on stochastic gene expression, which lead to species-specific changes in behavior via transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.

Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338. DOI: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17338.

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