We are living in exciting times! As science comes out with new discoveries, we have the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. It is also becoming more clear that the power behind our daily choices has the potential to change our health, emotions, and longevity.
Genetics was first discovered by an Austrian monk by the name of Gregor Mendel in 1866 with his work on pea plants. Since then we have learned that each of our parents provide us with one of our 23 chromosome pairs. These chromosomes are made up of proteins tagged as DNA. The actual genes consist of groupings of the DNA, which are tightly wound up and housed in the cells of our body, the nucleus of each cell to be exact.
Another factor that plays into our health is the environment in which we live. Our environment consists of the landscape, which in ancient times predicted diet. In this day and age our diets are not as dictated by landscape, but more by food science and what makes it into the aisles of the grocery store. Other pieces that play into our environment, include lifestyle factors such movement (exercise), stress management, sleep, and connection through relationships. These lifestyle factors play a big role in human disease, including obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmunity.
The interplay between genetics and environment has been termed epigenetic's, coined by Conrad Waddington in 1940. In 2005, the mapping of the epigenome project got underway, and the correlation between our behaviors, predispositions, and our genes has become more clear. Essentially, our lifestyle and behaviors do impact the health of our genes, and through that we can turn on and off our genetic predispositions through lifestyle choices.
With these new discoveries we are learning lots about cellular activity and human potential, yet many answers remain unknown. We do have the opportunity to be more present, with the choices we make and the people we love.