One of the perennial controversies that tends to evoke a multitude of reactions amongst biomedical scientists is the roles of “nature and nurture” in the unfoldment of life. In simple terms genetically speaking, Nature takes the scientific approach that defines us by our hard coded DNA, whilst Nurture takes into account the fact that our genetic expression is now effected by our environment which is now being validated by the ground-breaking research into epigenetics.
Those that are polarized on the side of nature agree that genetic determinism is the mechanism that controls the expression of human beings physical, behavioural and emotional traits, like a genetically coded computer program and the story ends there. Not so good for you if you have a family history of illness or disease.
In the nature camp your genes are imparted during a differential selection process that is downloaded into you at conception. This then becomes your biological and behavioural destiny. However it doesn’t have to be so finite and leave you feeling disempowered without any control over your body with perceptions such as: “If I can’t control my genes, I can’t be responsible for the consequences of my health and emotional wellbeing”, therefore minimising personal responsibility in the unfolding of one’s life.
Consideration should also be given to the fact that a totally genetic approach can encourage a relinquishing of personal control and a lack of participation with the wholeness of who we are, thus dampening our attempt to heal and evolve our body, mind, spirit and destiny.
Modern medical science can perceive of an unwell, behaviourally challenged person or emotionally struggling person, for example someone suffering with anxiety, often as an individual possessing a defective gene ’mechanism’, passed down through the family, whereas sometimes these conditions can be caused by their past trauma or environmental history. Sadly these diagnoses are generally treated with drugs, without looking any deeper.
The knowledge of both nature and nurture has huge potential to contribute enormously to our lives with that in mind let’s look at nurture in the expression of genes. The study of epigenetics is a study of dynamic alterations in the potential of what the cell can express, once alterations in the cells potential occur, they may or may not be inheritable, whereas Genetics is based on changes to the underlying DNA sequence and are usually passed on.
The naked gene consists of DNA in the form of the famous double helix, but the genes are rarely naked as they are clothed in a variety of other organic material by chemical attachment. Why are they important? They are important because these chemicals can alter the behaviour of the genes to which they are attached. What else? Well they stay attached for long periods of time, sometimes a lifetime , gene regulating attachments as explored in epigenetics, all work without including the ‘hard drive‘ the nucleotide sequence DNA
Some examples of what contributes to the changes in the genome without altering the DNA sequence are called ’DNA methylation’ and ‘Histone modification’. Each of these processes alter how genes are expressed. For example, on a biological level when these chemicals’ modify the function of DNA by typically acting to repress gene transcription (repetition). This can be a lifesaving function, and is essential for repression of unwanted elements like unbridled growth of cancer cells and ageing.
OK now we have a basic background in terminology; let’s look at the fascinating reasons for bringing the study of epigenetics to light, scientific history has dictated that genes function as the executives that direct the course of our development. The alternative Epigenetic view is that the genes function more like cellular resources rather than absolute controllers. Currently emerging at the cutting edge of cellular science is the recognition that the environment, and more specifically, our perception of the environment, powerfully controls our behaviour and some gene activity.
The sum of our instincts, traumas and learned perceptions collectively form the subconscious mind, which in turn, is the source of the ‘collective’ voice that our cell’s ‘agree’ to follow. Both positive and negative alike.
As an analogy one could say genes are molecular units of perception, which are in the form of ‘Perception protein complexes’ which ‘control’ cell behaviour and to some degree, regulate gene expression, and have been implicated in the rewriting of the genetic code. This supports the concept that genes cannot actually turn themselves on or off, they are under the regulatory control of environmental signals that act through epigenetic mechanisms.
If our genes are affected by our perceptions and can contribute to our emotional physiological states, disease and behaviours, the resolution of the nature and nurture controversy is then profoundly important in regard to defining the role of parenting in human development, and the responsibility of the emotional vibration, and experiences that we receive and perceive as children. Especially for the first 6 years while the subconscious is downloading extraordinary amounts of environmental information and, of course, for the growing foetus in-utero (an area currently under research in relation to the effect of stress chemicals produced by an upset or emotionally distraught mother and passed through the placental blood).
At this point the level of possible tension around this new field of research becomes clear, on one hand the idea that our human condition can be so strongly manipulated by environmental influences can be very disturbing, and on the other hand, the potential for a positive contribution to the co creation of our wellness is enormous.
Previously we had the notion that if one generation is suffering at least the next one will have it better. However today we must assume that if one generation is suffering hardship, violence, traumas or emotional struggles unfortunately our genes will remember these experiences, carrying epigenetics traces to be passed on to the next generation or even further.
The good news is that once this is recognized through trans-generational healing methods, the healing can begin, and all positive experiences of healing and change will profoundly affect the consciousness of future generations and their children in a positive way. Thus stopping the cycle and ‘turning off’ the epigenetic effect in oneself and in future generations. Transgenerational healing IOPT Identity orientated psycho trauma therapy (IoPT) is a powerful technique to access, shift and see what generational trauma exists by bringing to consciousness what has been previously been experienced. This extraordinary technique developed by ProfessorFranz Rupert allows access to your unconscious field in order to gain information about generational, childhood and other traumas, also the encountering of oneself in inter-utero experiences that were epigenetically transmitted through multi-generational traumas in the family history that may have been generationally imbedded or difficult to access. It’s just the beginning of an extraordinary new level of both scientific and healing technologies