Aging - the role of Epigenetic's

Aging - the role of Epigenetic's

Aging is a fascinating topic. Is aging normal? Should we all age? Why do we age, and is there a way to stop or even reverse aging? 

Questions such as these have confounded humanity forever. Qin Shihuang, a Chinese Emperor, spent his entire life trying to find the elixir of life.

He unfortunately died when he ingested mercury, thinking it would extend life.

He did not understand the role of epigenetics in his progression toward the inevitable. But let you and I not make the same mistake.

Your body has genes. Genes replicate not only from mother to child but also within your body, or what we call genetics. Genes, broadly speaking, are fairly good at replicating themselves.

To do so, they are at the mercy of your environment, or what we call epigenetics. Epigenetics is the condition your genes find themselves in when they replicate or express. 

Conrad Waddington, a British scientist, first proposed the concept of an epigenetic landscape.

Think of the landscape as a set of hills through which the genetic ball rolls down, each time making a different choice.

The conditions your genes found themselves in dictated the outcome each time and determined your age.

So if your genes rolled down the healthy path, you would increase your lifespan; if they rolled down the unhealthy one, it would reduce your lifespan. 

The concept is not so complicated. Think of these choices as helping your genes make mistakes or not.

Or drinking the alcohol or not if you want an easier explanation. If you drank the alcohol, your genes would roll down one pathway, and if you did not, another.

Each outcome would affect the errors your genes make while replicating. Each error would add up over time, making you older or not. 

So Mr. Waddington would strongly disagree with all those people who claim nothing really happens to them, regardless of their lifestyle. 

You don't need to ingest mercury to extend your life; just better lifestyle choices. 

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