tschafer said: “I can see that ‘epigenetics’ is going to be this century’s excuse for socialism, just as ‘environmental determinism’ was last century’s excuse…. If enviornment predominates, well, we need to manipulate the environment to breed the New Socialist Man. If epigenitics is a factor, we must manipulate the environment in order to influence mutable genes.”

sho’nuff, the lefties seem to be lovin’ epigenetics: Why Your DNA Isn’t Your Destiny.

*facepalm*

epigenetics is cool, no doubt. along with other things, some epigenetic thingies [<< technical term] seem to be relatively short-term hacks of the genome in order to enable organisms to more quickly "adapt" to the environment. if there's a shortage of food, it might be useful that the next generation or two can metabolize food differently and, perhaps, extract more calories/nutrition than otherwise. (of course, if the environment doesn't remain so detrimental, the next generation or two might wind up obese and/or with high rates of diabetes.) this is a great adaptation to have — it means your lineage won't necessarily disappear immediately if the environment goes somewhat sour on you. gives the lineage a little time to adapt properly before being selected right out of the gene pool.

and that's the part that the happy leftists are missing from their thinking [sic] about epigenetics. epigenetics is obviously some sort of adaptation … so it must be coded for in our genes somewhere. that methylation happens to alter the expression of genes isn’t some miracle, however amazing it may be. it’s coded for:

“An N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea screen for genes involved in variegation in the mouse” [opens pdf]

“Despite the fact that the epigenetic state of the eukaryotic genome has profound effects on ultimate phenotype, little is known about the mechanisms by which these states are established. In mammals, genomewide epigenetic reprogramming occurs during both gametogenesis and early embryonic development (1). For technical reasons, mainly related to the challenges of manipulating such small starting material, it has been difficult to study these events. We have designed a screen to detect genes involved in establishing and maintaining the epigenetic state of the genome in the mouse by screening for mutations that affect variegated gene expression in the adult….

“Using a sensitized screen for modifiers of transgene variegation in the mouse, we have identified a number of mutations that affect epigenetic reprogramming during gametogenesis and early development….

“These mutant lines should provide a valuable resource for those working in the field of epigenetics. The study demonstrates the power of sensitized screens not only for the discovery of novel genes involved in a particular process but also for the elucidation of the biology of that process.”

in other words, there are genes behind epigenetics, and since all individuals are different, there are variations in these genes behind epigenetics. in fact, i’ll bet anyone $1.00 — no, $1.50! — that different frequencies of these genes will be found in different populations.

it might be epigenetics we’re talking about here, but it’s still biology.

see also: The case for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans [pdf] and Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: More questions than answers

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