Take a look at the mice below. one is fat and orange. the other is thin and brown.
yet they are genetically identical.
turns out, if momma mouse doesn’t eat certain foods (which foods? the details don’t matter) during pregnancy and lactation, a certain gene doesn’t activate.
And when said gene doesn’t activate, the mouse ends up fat and orange.
Food changes gene activation.
And food isn’t a function of your genes.
Food is a function of your environment.
Scientists are beginning to see that the environment has a huge influence on how we grow and develop. Even to the point of (yes) changing genetic expression.
(the formal study of which goes by the name of epigenetics, which I tell you because I know you’re going to finish reading this and go back to college for a new degree.)
Genes by themselves do not simply act. They have to be activated.
-EF Keller, The Century of the Gene
examples of epigenetics are quite eye opening. another (more relevant) one being that a group of old people reverted to a “younger” state after six months of resistance training.
the resistance training changed their gene expression. the “old” genes switched off and the “young” genes switched on.
but, well, i’m not a scientist. and explaining this debacle through the lens of epigenetics isn’t something I want to do because, uhh, I’ve tried to do it before.
ahh, the lure of sounding smarter than you really are.
and history proves i like to obsess over the idea of epigenetics because it makes it seem like genetics don’t matter at all, which is a story i (sometimes) need to tell myself.
but i’m the dumbest guy in the room. and I think in a much more basic way, with gedankenexperiments out the wazoo.