The epigenome in Europe:
There is a project afoot (Alison Abbott Europe to Map the Human Epigenome NATURE vol. 477 no. 7366 September 29. 2011 page 518) to map out just what the epigenome is.  The genome of course is simply the genes an organism has, now defined down to the entire DNA structure of the cells.  A consortium in Europe called BLUEPRINT seeks to do the same thing for the epigenome, or at least most of it.  They have selected nine different things that can determine whether or not a gene is active.

This reminds me of an old fantasy of mine.  A friend comes to you and says he is actually an alien from another galaxy and has been running a factory that makes flying saucers.  He has been called away but will need about a thousand dollars to get some things before he leaves.  If you will give him the money and agree to empty out the building within a day he will let you have whatever you like out of the building.  The two of you run around to take a look at it in a nearby industrial park.  He gives you the keys, and sure enough the place is full of amazing machinery.  The deal is struck.  He goes his way.  You will be busy so you hire a crew to pack up the machinery.  After you are done, you look over this excellent collection of lathes, drill presses, robotic arms and so forth.  You ask your crew boss where the plans are.  He says you just said the machinery.  He has destroyed the plans.  Oops. 

Well genes are really the plans for proteins.  They include things like structural elements, like fibrous tissue, and tools, like enzymes.  It is the epigenomic information that says what tool to use when.  So I am quite taken with the name of the project. 

They expect to finish by the year 2020.  I am thinking that there will be some other issues becoming clear by that time.  Like there will be countries where the birth rate of women under twenty five is essentially zero and that effect is moving across the population like a windshield wiper.  Maybe.  Anyway, it will be 10 years before the job is done by BLUEPRINT and many more years after that while the effects are being worked out and the epigenome annotated. 

I fully expect that among the epigenetic effects will be inbreeding depression and outbreeding depression.  At that point mainstream science will be able to state just what a rational mating strategy ought to be.

I do not know if there is going to be time to fix things, but at least we are going to learn the truth one day.  I mean ya’ll are.  I do not expect to be around. 

The coordinator is Henk Stunnenburg at the Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences in the Netherlands.  It would be nice if in about ten years somebody would write him and ask about the epigenetic effect on fertility.

There have been 32,920 visitors so far.

Home page