Scientists Finally Finished Mapping the Human Genome

Scientists Finally Finished Mapping the Human Genome

Scientists announce they have finally completed the map of the entire human genome. Will the information contained within unlock our true potential for health and wellbeing, or is there another more expansive perspective on the role genes play in our lives?

After decades of research, scientists have recently announced the completion of the human genome, what some call “the genetic instruction book.” Widely used for guiding biomedical research, many experts herald this as a crowning achievement in the field.

Dr. Bruce Lipton is a cellular biologist and a pioneer in the field of epigenetics, which takes a comprehensive, cutting-edge approach to the understanding of our relationship to our genes.

“Most people are really excited about the fact that the human genome has been deciphered; they’ve identified how many genes are in the human genome,” Lipton said. “The original reason for the human genome was, it was thought the genes control all the characteristics of our life and therefore if I had a compendium of all the genes I could fix anybody who has a characteristic they want to change. Francis Crick, one of the cofounders of the story, came up with something called “the central dogma,” the belief that genes are the source of biological information. 

“They’re translated into another form of nucleic acid called RNA. So, DNA goes into RNA which is like a xeroxed copy of the DNA, and then the RNA is used as a template to make the proteins of the body,” he said. “According to the central dogma, information only flows in one way — it flows from the DNA to the RNA to the protein. This led to an understanding called ‘genetic determinism.’ Genetic determinism is the belief that the genetic blueprint of your life is carried by the DNA that you inherited at the moment of conception.”

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This “genetic determinism” was the prevailing theory of genetics for many decades. Lipton was one of the first to challenge it, beginning some 40 years ago.

“The central dogma was never proven scientifically. The central dogma was a suggestion and a hypothesis,” Lipton said. “Now, there’s a new science that really undermines that whole story of the central dogma, and the story is called ‘epigenetics.’ Cancer is under genetic control, so genes control cancer. The new science is that cancer is under epigenetic control. Well, ‘epi’ means above, and I say, epigenetic means above the gene control. Genes do not turn on and off; genes are blueprints. Genes can be read or not read, but the genes don’t determine which one is going to happen.”

According to epigenetics, what does determine what will happen?

“The environment, and more importantly, this is important, our perception of the environment — it’s the information that controls our genes. Change your environment and you change your genetic activity. Change your belief about life and you can change your genetic activity. Now, there’s something even more important and that is this: the old story is that a gene is a blueprint that makes a protein, fact. The human genome project has been whittled down to that humans have about 20,000 genes; there are over 100,000 different proteins and only 20,000 genes! Where’d all the other proteins come from?” Lipton asked.

“It turns out, how we respond to the environment —our perceptions of the world — can alter our genetic blueprint, so that a single gene blueprint can be used to create over 3,000 different proteins from the same blueprint.”

For Lipton the implications of this understanding are profound.

“Under genetic determinism, we are the victim, the gene creates your life. Then all of a sudden we go from victim to mastery, but you have to do it with knowledge. If you have no knowledge of epigenetics but are programmed with the belief that you are a victim of your heredity, then your belief about your family’s heredity becomes your life. Because if you understand you are the creator, then guess what? For the first time, if you understand the nature within, you have the power to change the creation.”

So how do we go about getting beyond programmed thinking and become masters of our genes?

To find out be sure to watch Part 2 of this Gaia News special investigation.

380 Trillion Viruses Live In Us; How Do We Live Symbiotically With Them?

380 Trillion Viruses Live In Us; How Do We Live Symbiotically With Them?

Interest in the microbiome has been steadily increasing over the past decade or so, and for good reason. The role of our internal ecosystem (gut flora) is one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our times, offering an insight into how we heal, fight off disease, and stay healthy — even in difficult times. In “Immunity and the Microbiome,” microbiologist Compton Rom presents a compelling argument for why we need to pay attention to the ecosystem of good bacteria in our digestive system. 

Once we realize the great implications of how remarkable the microbiome within us can make or break our state of health, then we can boost our immunity over viruses, bacteria, and infections. 

While the term “immune system” is relatively common in our daily vernacular, Rom does not limit it to the body alone. Rather, he has a holistic vision and ties the health of all life on this planet with the health of the Earth, including global warming, as well as the nature of disease-causing organisms. This holistic approach allows us to appreciate our unique role as conscious beings existing in various ecosystems that need to be recognized and respected. 

Rom discusses historical evidence, showing that humans have evolved to live symbiotically with the life not just around us, but within us. This becomes particularly relevant when discussing the role of our virome, or the trillions of viruses and phages that live within our body and its cells. This he says is a major facet in maintaining proper health, by promoting symbiosis with viruses, so they don’t cause disease and illness.

We can optimize our virome and microbiome by introducing probiotic fermented and anti-inflammatory herbs, as well as a diverse diet of fruits and roots, to lower risks of infectious disease. In fact, the bacterial cells within our microbiome outnumber our human cells by tenfold.

Rom suggests our immunity from illness, as well as our relationship with the planet, begins at home. The best place to start our journey to optimum health and ideal immune function is by improving our diets, meditating, doing breathwork, exercising, and most importantly, proactively diversifying our gut microbiomes. 

Compton’s philosophy is to take a non-chemical and non-pharmaceutical approach to healing, using natural herbs, and oils to eliminate pathogenic bacteria. 

Our bodies, he notes, respond “best to natural compounds that have evolved alongside us for millennia. Synthetic compounds are singular in nature, while whole earth compounds carry numerous micronutrients and co-factors necessary for growth, many of which scientists have yet to discover. 

This is why natural compounds are so much more effective. Modern medicine has yet to use them because they are impossible to patent; synthetics can be sold at a much higher profit than naturally derived and sustainably harvested herbs.”

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