Not Just Genes, But Pieces of Mom, Pieces of Dad, and Controller Molecules All Having a Role in Our Genetics

Orange Rose by W. Scifres
When you start blaming your parents, we're going to find out, it's gotten a whole lot more complex than "she wouldn't let me wear jeans to school" or "I never got to watch the tv I wanted," it gets down not only our genes, but how those genes layer out! The egg is virtually all genetically derived from mom, then sperm injects a piece of DNA and dad starts to exert more influence. And the persistent influences of mom or dad on us genetically is known as genetic imprinting. This has wide reaching effects on our health, not just his nice smile, or mom's eyes, or the genetic tendency towards breast cancer. And learning which aspects of health are from the maternal or paternal side has become an entire science. We know for instance that placentas are, oddly enough, controlled mostly by chromosomes derived from the dad. And dermoid tumors of the ovaries come only from maternally derived chromosomes. And it's gotten a whole lot more complex, as the way those genes we've been given turn on and off has to do with proteins that wrap themselves around your genes, and those may come from one parent or the other. Your gyno cannot yet use most of this information. We are getting there however. We think that new microchip technologies allow for the analysis of our gene expression and soon we can not only know what's in our genes, but which pieces are sleeping, and which pieces are turned on and ready to play a role in our health (or a role in potential disease).


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