C/ The Clock-watcher

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Epigenetics is clearly one of the « hottest » fields in molecular biology at the moment alongside iRNA.

It is surprising how far we have come since the famous “human genome project” from the late 1990’s. For those aren’t aware the “human genome project” is one of the most famous scientific projects ever to be completed in Biology.

In it’s essence it similar to the “human brain project” funded by the UE (or another project named BRAIN financed by the USA) as the objective is to decypher the fundamental mechanisms of the subjects at hand.

But as “Human brain project” and “Brain” are only on their way, the “Human Genome Project” has long be completed (2003) and lead to some disappointment.

Not only did the scientists find out that they couldn’t simply “decode” diseases from DNA but it was also revealed that humans have a smaller genome than some more simple lifeforms such as some fish (!) or event plants (!).

Scientists befuddled understood with Time that the secrets of DNA and transcription were much more complex than initially believed. And this search of understanding the mechanisms underlying the DNA resulted to the uncovering of Epigenetics.

 

Let me introduce Mr. Horwath a biomathematicien, a leading player in undertanding the relationship of Time and Life itself. As many great stories, his started in this youth by some pact with 3 of this friends to discover how to extend lifespan.

He choose Mathematics as his field while his other friends choose Biochemistry and Computer Science.

With a lot of work and determination Mr. Horwath managed to reveal to the world a new biomarker[1] to predict Time within cells. This is a great breakthough as this biomarker does not discriminate a group of cells (!) and works with amazing accuracy.

He managed to do this feat by revealing the correlation of CpG methylation and chorological age. So what you should learn is that each cell within our body has an “chronological clock” and if deregulated might be associated with diseases.

 

Therefore to conlcude not only is Epigenetics showing us that the lifestyle and alimentation of our grandparents could have some effect on our health or that mice can have pre-innate memories from their parents but it also helping us understand our relationship with Time.

Fundamentally these discoveries are reshaping not only our focus on treatments but equally our philosophical conception of “what is self” and putting into pressure the principles of Darwin determinism.

 

Works Cited

 

GIBBS, W. W. The Clock-watcher. Nature, v. 508, p. 170, April 2014.
L’HÉRÉDITÉ sans gènes. Dossier Hors-Série. ed. [S.l.]: Dossier pour la Science, 2013.

 

 

[1]The gold standard is aspartic acid racemization

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