New Research Reveals That Thoughts Affect Genes (1 Viewer)

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New Research Reveals That Thoughts Affect Genes

Groundbreaking scientific studies find that genes can be turned on and off by environmental signals - including thoughts, feelings and emotions - from outside the cell.

Cellular biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, a former medical school professor and research scientist, was one of the first scientists to posit such extra-cellular control. Dr. Lipton conducted a series of experiments that reveal that the cell membrane, the outer layer of a cell, is the organic equivalent of a computer chip, and the cell’s equivalent of a brain.

Although this view conflicts with the widely held scientific dogma that genes control behavior, papers by other researchers have validated his iconoclastic thinking.

http://www.quantumbiocommunication.com/consciousness/new-research-reveals-that-thoughts-affect-genes.html
Is there any truth to this (are there actually scientific papers describing how thoughts affect genes) or is this a publicity stunt to promote his book?

Liptons website
 

matthyaouw

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I have heard of studies that show environmental influences can affect genes. It was claimed that there was evidence that subsequent generations were effected and developed differently after a famine had happened to their parents. I forget the name of the process, but it was likened to genes simply stitching on and off like a lightswitch- certain environmental triggers would cause some genes to become active and some dormant.
I think there was a thread about it in the bio forum. I'll have a look and see if I can find it.
 

Moonbear

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The cell membrane is the cell's equivalent of a brain? :rofl:

I'd vote publicity stunt here. Not that there isn't a tiny hint of truth to what he's saying, but it's misrepresented, and hardly anything new. Of course the body responds to environmental factors all the time; we have to in order to maintain homeostasis. Once those factors are detected by the appropriate receptor-containing cells, signal transduction pathways lead to gene regulation so the cells respond appropriately.
 
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matthyaouw said:
I have heard of studies that show environmental influences can affect genes. It was claimed that there was evidence that subsequent generations were effected and developed differently after a famine had happened to their parents. I forget the name of the process, but it was likened to genes simply stitching on and off like a lightswitch- certain environmental triggers would cause some genes to become active and some dormant.
I think there was a thread about it in the bio forum. I'll have a look and see if I can find it.
I saw a documentary (Horizon on BBC2) about that a few weeks ago.
Here it is:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/ghostgenes.shtml

Its called epigenetics, but they also used another term for it in the show.
I dont remember them saying anything about thoughts affecting genes, even though it popped into my mind while watching the show. In the first part they were talking about the stress experienced by 9/11 families, which affected their offspring.
 

zoobyshoe

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Moonbear said:
Once those factors are detected by the appropriate receptor-containing cells, signal transduction pathways lead to gene regulation so the cells respond appropriately.
I have no idea what this means, but it sounds interesting. Can you break it down a bit for someone who knows zilch about genes?
 

Moonbear

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zoobyshoe said:
I have no idea what this means, but it sounds interesting. Can you break it down a bit for someone who knows zilch about genes?
Oops...I thought that was the simple version. Gene expression is regulated by a lot of molecules within a cell, so when some external signal is received by an appropriate type of receptor on the cell, the receptor recruits in a variety of other molecules, and a cascade of molecular reactions and/or interactions occurs in the cytoplasm of the cell. Some of those molecules can get into the nucleus, and either directly act on chromosomes to change the rate of transcription (increase or decrease the expression of that gene) of some target genes. Which target genes are affected depends on special parts of the genetic sequence known as promoters, where the transcription factors "dock."

Here's an illustration that shows a little of each level, from extracellular to nuclear. http://www.biocarta.com/pathfiles/h_p38mapkPathway.asp [Broken]

There's a whole bunch of examples of various cell signalling pathways at that site: http://www.biocarta.com/genes/CellSignaling.asp [Broken] Some only show what happens in the cytoplasm, and don't really follow all the way through to the nucleus, but in some cases, you can put a few together to get the full picture. For example, this one gives a good idea of how complex the response can be:
http://www.biocarta.com/pathfiles/h_mapkPathway.asp [Broken]
and if you note in that one all the way at the bottom right of the illustration, they show a molecule called NFkB (that's a kappa in there, but I don't know how to make one of those show up here). Then, on this other page, http://www.biocarta.com/pathfiles/h_nfkbPathway.asp [Broken] you can get more of an explanation of how NFkB gets to the nucleus to affect gene expression (the illustration doesn't match the description very well though...read the description part).

As you will get an idea very quickly, it's very complicated. People make careers out of studying just one pathway. But we definitely interact with our environment, so there must be ways for environmental signals to influence gene expression (note, I'm talking about gene expression...translating a gene to a protein...not the genome itself...that's what the original post talks about too, turning genes on or off...though it doesn't need to be all-or-none like that, it can be just increasing or decreasing expression).
 
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mugsby

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certinly genes affect thought (schizophrenia), so one might argue that thought can affect genes say like in the progression from ape to man or as described in the bell curve (smarter men and women have smarter babies).
 

zoobyshoe

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Still way over my head. I really, honestly, truly know zilch about genes.
 

Moonbear

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mugsby said:
certinly genes affect thought (schizophrenia), so one might argue that thought can affect genes say like in the progression from ape to man or as described in the bell curve (smarter men and women have smarter babies).
The OP isn't talking about changing genes, just changing the expression of genes. Thoughts actually changing the genes themselves is much more far-fetched.

zoobyshoe said:
Still way over my head. I really, honestly, truly know zilch about genes.
Sorry. I thought the problem might have been that I gave too simple of an explanation at first, so offered more detail thinking that might clarify. I see I needed to back up a bit first. Let's see if I can give a quick primer on gene expression.

Genes are bits of DNA code located within chromosomes (this much you probably knew already). The chromosome is actually not like a really long thread as it is sometimes depicted in illustrations, but is wrapped around molecules called histones (often illustrated as spools...it's a reasonable analogy). So, there will be DNA looped around these histones (just one loop per histone), and then all this is coiled up more, like a big, tangled phone cord. For any gene on that strand of DNA to be "read," enzymes and cofactors need to get to it and temporarily snip open the DNA and unwind it from those histones so it is relaxed enough for the transcriptional machinery (more enzymes) to move along and transcribe the DNA to RNA. Another set of enzymes translates RNA into proteins. Proteins are what are actually functional for doing "stuff" in the cell.

When something signals a molecule in the cell of an environmental event (or an internal event as well), either by a direct action of that environmental stimulus on the cell, or by an indirect action of other cells acting as intermediates producing molecules that stimulate that cell, a series of events happens in the cell. One common thing that happens is some of these proteins are phosphorylated, and this phosporylation changes the shape of the protein, as well as it's energy, and allows it to function differently than before it was phosphorylated. Some of these molecules, once their function is changed, are able to get into the nucleus, where the DNA is stored. And there, they can act as transcription cofactors, which do things to help speed up transcription of DNA to RNA. Some work by opening up the DNA coiled around the histones, some by recruiting more of the transcriptional machinery, some by sitting down at special places on the DNA to say that section is the part that should be transcribed, etc.

So, to the extent that thinking would involve synaptic transmission and release of neurotransmitters that would signal receptors on other neurons, there is the ability of thinking to trigger these signal transduction pathways and affect gene expression (picking and choosing which genes get used as a template to make proteins).
 

zoobyshoe

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Moonbear said:
Let's see if I can give a quick primer on gene expression.
I could understand that one much better. Thanks. The difference between changing the gene and changing the gene expression is alot more clear.

Now, I saw a couple of mentions of stress being able to effect such a change in gene expression in your links. Does this literally mean what it sounds like? Emotional stress, as opposed to physical?
 
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In this paper Berkovich writes that DNA is a sort of barcode:

The information contained in the genome is insufficient for the control of organism development. Thus, the whereabouts of actual operational directives and workings of the genome remain obscure. In this work, it is suggested that the genome information plays a role of a "barcode". The DNA structure presents a pseudo-random number(PRN)with classification tags, so organisms are characterized by DNA as library books are characterized by catalogue numbers. Elaboration of the "barcode" interpretation of DNA implicates the infrastructure of the physical Universe as a seat of biological information processing. Thanks to the PRNs provided by DNA, biological objects can share these facilities in the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) mode, similarly to cellular phone communications. Figuratively speaking, populations of biological objects in the physical Universe can be seen as a community of users on the Internet with a wireless CDMA connection. The phenomenon of Life as a collective information processing activity has little to do with physics and is to be treated with the methodology of engineering design. The concept of the "barcode" functionality of DNA confronts the descriptive scientific doctrines with a unique operational scheme of biological information control. Recognition of this concept would require sacrificing the worldview of contemporary cosmology.

http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0111093
Then Pim van Lommel writes about this:

According to his hypothesis DNA itself does not contain the hereditary material, but is capable of receiving hereditary information and memories from the past, as well as the morphogenetic information, which contains the way the body will be built with all its different cell systems with specialized functions.47 Person-specific DNA is in this model the receiver as well as the transmitter of our permanently evolving personal consciousness.

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/college/sig/spirit/publications/NL_19/PimvanLommel_About.pdf
Not quite sure what this says about the powers of consciousness over genes.
 
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