"The Toxins That Infected Your Great Grandparents Megan Burchett
Could Be In Your Genes"
Smithsonian Bio 152
December 2013 Dec. 2, 2013
Failures can sometimes be a good or a bad thing; in this case, the failure was good. This article discusses the possibility that you could have chemicals and toxins in your genes that your great grandparents encountered many, many years ago. It is something many didn’t think was really possible, that you could be affected from members that far away from your own genes, but it’s true.
There was a study on lab rats at Washington State University, Michael Skinner and a research fellow had accidentally taken the experiment too far. They had exposed the rats to an endocrine disrupter, to learn more about the sexual development in the fetus, but this exposure caused the offspring of these parent rats to have a lower than normal sperm count. The colleague had accidently bred grandchildren of the exposed rats, and great grandchildren of the original subjects. The scary thing they found was, it did not begin or end at a mutation in the genetic code. These chemicals alter the pattern of methyl groups that act like burrs and latch on to DNA in the fetus’ germ line cells, that later become its egg or sperm. These burrs go down generation through generation, and truly cannot be explained.
The positive part of this failed experiment is in the future, you may be able to have your methylation patterns screened, you will be able to know if you have strains of any diseases or toxins that could be in your genes, and even obesity, which you may not encounter until later in life. This discovery is helping scientists study chemical exposures in order to keep pregnancy procedures, environments, and just people safer. The fact that the chemicals you encounter in your life can affect your great grandchildren is unimaginable, but makes a good reason to live healthy.