Nurture Or Nature Debate Involving Gene Changes

Genes are passed on from parent to child and are believed by many to be an important part of what decides looks and behavior, but also determines our chances of having several common illnesses, like heart disease, asthma and diabetes.

However, so do many other factors affect and determine our characteristics, such as diet and lifestyle, environment, medicines, bacteria, and many others, according to a 2000 National Institutes of Health (NIH) “Genes, Environment, and the Organism” research.

Many genetic Nurture) and environmental (nature) factors affect our health, but scientists don’t yet know what they all are resulting in a lot of confusion and debate. In an effort to clear up some of the confusion, we will provide documented evidence of Nature Vs Nurture Examples in this article.

There is also debate on how nurture and nature interact with each other, although progress is being made every day.  According to a 2006 NIH “Genetics and Health” study, family history is often one of the strongest risk factors for common disease complexes.  A person inherits a complete set of genes from each parent, as well as a vast array of cultural and socioeconomic experiences from his or her family.  Quoting a 2003 American Journal of Preventive Medicine reviewed by the NIH:

Family history is thought to be a good predictor of an individual’s disease risk because family members most closely represent the unique genomic and environmental interactions that an individual experiences.

Recent research in genetic health, like the 2000 NIH study, have shown that all of the “everyday” factors of life, like being social, physical, emotions, aging, occupation, spiritual or meditative, environmental, and mental, all play a huge role in influencing changes in gene structure or alteration, as well.

Wikipedia defines heredity as follows:

Heredity is the passing on of traits from parents to their offspring through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction.  The offspring cells or organisms acquire the genetic information of their parents.  

DNA Strands On Chromosomes

For more Wikipedia information on heredity and genetics, read here.

Basics on Cells, Genes, DNA, and Inheritance

A basic place to start in studying the Nature Vs Nurture Examples is in the cells of the human body and it’s relationship to heredity.  The human body is composed of trillions of cells, which provide structure for the body, take in nutrients from food, convert those nutrients into energy, and carry out specialized functions. Cells also contain the body’s hereditary material and can make copies of themselves, according to a 2020 NIH “What Is A Cell?” study.

Every cell in the body with a nucleus has a complete set of genes.   A gene is made up of DNA, and it is basically a type of genetic instruction, according to the NIH “The Genetic Basics: What Are Genes and What Do They Do” study.

The instructions are guidelines for making protein molecules and controlling the chemical reactions of life.  Proteins are responsible for building, regulating and maintaining the human body.  An inherited trait is the transfer of these specific instructions in a gene code from parents to offspring, per a 2020 NIH “What are the different ways in which a genetic condition can be inherited?” study.  Genes reside on chromosomes and are a small part of the chromosome.  If the chromosome is a whole book, then the genes are different chapters in the book.  The number of human genes can range from 20,000 to 25,000.  A genome is all the DNA contained in an organism or cell.

The human genome has three billion pairs of bases.  Each person has twenty-two pairs of chromosomes.  For each pair, one comes from the mother, and one comes from the father.  Since the genes are on each chromosome, there are copies of each gene, one paternal and one maternal.  In addition, there is one sex chromosome for each parent, for a total of forty-six chromosomes. For more in depth information on genes and chromosomes read the 2018 NIH study “X Chromosome”.

Healthy Gene Development Of Offspring

Parental and generational traits are inheritable and these traits are influenced by the genes present, but its not quite that simple.  Traits inherited can be very complex, and can be very difficult to predict from one generation to the next.  In fact, according to a 2016 NIH “Four Ways Inheritance Is More Complex Than Mendel Knew” Review, there are 4 different ways inheritance is complex:

(1) Some of our genes come only from Mom.

(2) The environment may have the potential to trigger molecular changes that pass from generation to generation.

(3) One trait can be controlled by hundreds of genes.

(4) Genes can tag along for generations.

So, it can be very difficult, even for Geneticists, to determine heretital influence of a specific disease. Geneticists usually look at inheritable illnesses or diseases over several generations in one family tree, according to a 2008 NIH “Pedigree and Family History Taking” study.

The basic laws of inheritance are critical because they can reveal how a certain attribute or disorder (mutation) can be transferred from one generation to the next generation, but not necessarily.  Genes can change or mutate but it rarely occurs. We have 2 copies of most genes, one from each chromosome in a pair. In order for a gene to stop working completely and potentially lead to cancer, both copies have to be “knocked out” with mutations, found a 2014 American Cancer Society (ACS) “Changes In Genes” research.

That means for most genes, it takes 2 mutations to make that gene stop working completely, according to the above research from the National Cancer Society. While some mutations can be harmful, like cancer, most are not, and have little effect on inheritable traits.  Our bodies are capable of destroying cells with harmful mutations, but sometimes our bodies miss destroying the mutations, resulting in an out of control growth like cancer.

Genetic disorders or mutations, can happen for many reasons.  For example in cancer, according to the American Cancer Society study, mutations are abnormal changes in the DNA and the building blocks, called bases, of a gene.  Some mutations can stop a protein from being made at all.

Other mutations may change the protein that is made so that it no longer works the way it should or it may not even work at all, according to a 2020 NIH “Do all gene mutations affect health and development?” research.  Some mutations may cause a gene to be turned on, and make more of the protein than usual.  Some mutations don’t have a noticeable effect, but others may lead to a disease, like cancer.

Painful Debilitating Inflammation Knee

Normally it takes many mutations in a cell to form cancer.  So, you can readily see how complicated and difficult the study of Genetics is.  Genetic disorders also are grouped by how they run in families.  Disorders can be dominant or recessive, depending on how they cause certain conditions and how they run in families, found a Center Of Disease Control (CDC) 2020 “Genetics Basics” study.

Family history over several generations, along with the influences of every day life, is one of the strongest risk factors for inheriting diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and mental illness, confirmed in a 2006 NIH “Genetics and Health” research.

Through inheritance, according to the NIH “Why is genetics important to my family and me?” research, not only does the offspring receive a complex set of gene instruction, which help explain why family members look alike, why diseases like diabetes and cancer run in families, and, more importantly, why learning your family history and making changes in your lifestyle, can help keep you healthy.

But, you also can inherit a vast array of cultural, socioeconomic experiences instruction, and environmental influences, from past family relatives. An example of this is genetic and environmental influence on cognition across development and context. According to a 2014 Current Director Psychology Science study reviewed by the NIH, genes account for between approximately 50 percent and 70 percent of the variation in cognition at the population level.

However, population-level estimates of heritability potentially mask marked subgroup differences. According to the 2014 NIH study, the body of empirical evidence indicating that genetic influences on cognition increase from infancy to adulthood, and genetic influences on cognition are maximized in more advantaged socioeconomic contexts.

It is even more complicated when you consider recessive genes, as a recessive inheritable trait, you have to have two copies of genes to express the trait, but the carrier only has one copy, not two.  So, the carrier does not contain the trait.  However, recessive genes can mutate into dominate gene action, per a 2016 Molecular Syndronology study reviewed by the NIH.  Studies like this one may help to broaden our insights into the mechanisms of dominant action of certain mutations in genes that are otherwise known for recessive inheritance.

Each individual also has variations in genes.  That is what makes each individual unique in its own way.  Most variations are harmless or even positive, providing an advantage in changing environments, as this 2007 NIH “Understanding Human Genetic Variation” study reveals.  But, there is also evidence that some variations can cause disease or disorders.

beauty of nature

According to the latest research in genetic health, it now appears genes are controlled by both internal and external factors, our thoughts, our attitude, our stress, our social activities, what we eat, physical activity, and mental attitude.  A great example is the influence of these various factors, such as biological, behavioral, environmental, and social, on children’s health, found a 2004 NIH “Influence On Children’s Health” study.

In addition, our exposure to microbes, unsuitable environments, environmental stressors such as alcohol dependence, per a 2012 Alcohol Research (NIH) study; and toxins, and pollutants, are all instrumental in our genes switching on and off, determining what proteins are released, which determines if the result is health or disease, per a 2009 Current Opinion Pediatrics (NIH) study.

One 2010 Developmental Psychopathology (NIH) study looked at the influence on gene impact and environment on brain development during childhood and adolescence.  The findings found and agreed with evidence from other fields that different brain regions may be particularly sensitive to environmental factors at specific periods during childhood and adolescence.

A 2006 ScienceDirect Hand Function In Child study addresses a variety of studies on environment and it’s role in influencing and how it affect the expression of genes.The new research on genetics and good health, suggest that genes, life, and environment, in particular, plays a huge part in disease and illness risk.

The World Health Organization (WHO) “Genes and Human Disease” research, found that most diseases involve many genes in complex interactions, in addition to environmental influences.  An individual may not be born with a disease but may be at high risk of acquiring it.  This is called as genetic predisposition or susceptibility. Some people with a predisposing genetic variation will never get the disease while others will, even within the same family, according to a 2020 NIH “What does it mean to have a genetic predisposition to a disease?” research.

For example, cardiovascular disease tends to manifest itself in specific ways unique to various communities.  For example, African communities tend to have strokes as a result of cardiovascular disease, per a 2015 Journal of the American Society of Nephrology study; while south Asians tend to have heart attacks and die, per a 2018 American Heart Association study.  Other researchers, such as a 2008 Pharmaceutical Research reviewed by the NIH, for example, believe 70 percent to 90 percent of cancer development is a result of lifetime behavior and environmental factors.

Mutant Gene Cancer Cells

Quoting the NIH:

We present evidence that inflammation is the link between the agents/factors that cause cancer and the agents that prevent it….in addition, cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes

So, where do you start first?  Start first with determining your true DNA, your heritage, and your family tree.  For most of us, celebrating where we come from is a vital part of understanding who we are.  A DNA test kit is a valuable tool that will determine your heritage and exactly how your family tree branches out.  For the absolute best DNA ancestry test kit on the market today, according to the experts, check out the “23AndMe DNA Test Kit.

Factors influencing Your Heredity and Overal Health and Well Being

Inheritable physical traits, both dominate and recessive, have a basic influence on your health and well being, per a 2006 NIH “Genetics Health” study.

Family history over several generations have many factors in common, including their genes, environment, and lifestyle, and its influence on your health and well being, per a 2020 NIH Why is it important to know my family medical history?” study.  In particular, medical history, and your proneness to specific illnesses or diseases, can be very revealing, and if certain risk factors exist, you should give them serious consideration, and implement corrective action to reduce the risk.

Positive environmental influence, or changes, or new experiences, can effect genetic processes, influencing development and behavior, causing the genes to possibly alter its characteristics.  As an example of a negative influence initially, becoming a positive influence over time, are two genetically equal oak tree seeds, that are planted in two different soils and climates.  One is planted in rich, fertile soil in a warm, moist climate, and the other is planted in sandy soil and in a hot, dry climate. Both are given the identical care until established.

Unhealthy Chronic Inflammation

The one growing in the rick soil and moist climate grew twice as large as the other tree in the sandy soil and arid climate.  However, this also occured. Generations later, that oak tree’s offspring will adapt to the less fertile soil and arid conditions.

The cells will change significantly, through beneficial mutation, causing the species to adapt and survive, and actually grow healthier and larger than earlier generations.  A 2008 “Environmental Influences On Gene Expression” study published in Nature Education found that internal and external environmental factors, like gender and temperature, influence gene expression.

Negative environmental influence, or changes, or new experiences, can effect genetic processes, again influencing development and behavior, causing genes to possibly alter its characteristics, according to a 2020 Harvard Health Center On the Developing Child “Gene-Environment Interaction” study.

If one of your parents was exposed to mercury from eating too much fish, that external negative factor can alter the genetic process for generations to come, resulting in possibly harmful gene alterations and variations, and abnormal cell growth, in you, according to a 2017 International Journal of Environmental Research of Public Health study reviewed by the NIH.

Three of the genetic variants specifically associated with you psychologically, and, your mental well being have been isolated.  The scientists in a 2016 University of Southern California study found three genetic variants associated with “subjective wellbeing”, how happy or satisfied a person reports feeling about his or her life, based on an analysis of roughly 300,000 people.

The researchers also found two genetic variants associated with depressive symptoms, based on an analysis of nearly 180,000 people, and 11 genetic variants associated with neuroticism, based on an analysis of 170,000 people. The depression results were replicated through an analysis of another sample of nearly 370,000 people.

Genetic association with depression, which is called neurotcism, described by feeling of anxiety, fear, and negativity, can be transferred, per a 2015 Clinical Psychology Review reviewed by the NIH.  Some of these genetic variants are also associated with disorders like schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.  More recently, the emphasis in diagnosis has focused on neuroimaging in genetic research, per 2013 Pharmacy and Therapeutics study reviewed by NIH.

Unhealthy Depression Gene Deformity

This approach is based partly on the need for a more comprehensive understanding of how biology, stress, and genetics interact to shape the symptoms of anxiety , 2013 Pharmacy and Therapeutics (NIH) study.   Another 2015 Dialogues On Clinical Neuroscience (NIH) study found evidence of shared genes is still based mainly on twin studies, but the shared neurobiology can be investigated directly by the investigation of emotional or cognitive bias either behaviorally or using functional brain imaging.

Microorganisms, both good and harmful, and the Nurture Or Nature interaction, have a significant impact on your health and well being.

Our body is a host for literally a 100 trillion microorganisms, and their DNA living in and on you, outnumber your own DNA by at least a hundred times. Good bacteria, or microflora, found in the human gut, can control genes in our cells, according to a 2018 “How Good Bacteria Control Your Genes” study published in a Babraham Institute study.

The study shows that chemical messages from bacteria can alter chemical markers throughout the human genome by affecting the human genome, and the changes in the genome may help to fight infections and prevent cancer, and the chemical signal is produced by bacteria from the digestion of healthy fruits and vegetables.

The signal chemicals are made when bacteria digest fruits and vegetables.  By communicating in this way, the bacteria may help to fight infections and to prevent cancer.  A later 2018 Weizmann Institute of Science study also concluded that the connection between microbiome and health may be even more important than we thought.  Dr. Segal, one of the researchers in the study, said,

We cannot change our genes, but we now know that we can affect — and even reshape — the composition of the different kinds of bacteria we host in our bodies.  So the findings of our research are quite hopeful; they suggest that our microbiome could be a powerful means for improving our health.

Microorganisms use your body for their own purpose too, and it could result in a negative impact, as well.  The nearly five hundred billion microorganisms that live in your digestive system alone, some of them harmful, can be linked to everything from obesity, to cancer, to autoimmune disease, to allergies, even to heart disease and diabetes.

According to a 2018 Frontiers Microbiology study reviewed by the NIH confirmed how gut microbial imbalance (dysbiosis) may lead to dysfunction of host machineries, thereby contributing to pathogenesis and/or progression toward a broad spectrum of diseases. Some of the most notable diseases namely Clostridium difficile infection, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, obesity, colorectal cancer, and autism spectrum disorder have been linked to dysbiosis.

A 2016 study published in Genomic Medicine reviewed by Cleveland Clinic addressed the issue of how trillions of bacteria in your body can change or effect your genes negatively. Different microbial communities can trigger inflammation, the body’s response to injury, and that inflammation can lead to changes in gene expression, causing the genes to switch on and off, and how our body’s cells react to this activation.

the abuse of antibiotics

Over prescribed and over use of Antibiotics, combined with a nutrition-lacking diet, and abusive lifestyle, can significantly effect our overall health and well being.  Any one of these external influences, or in any combination, can destroy the beneficial bacteria (microflora) in our digestive system and make you very sick.

The NIH, in it’s review of a 2015 Pharmacy and Therapeutics study, calls it “the Antibiotic Crisis”, relating that the rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is occurring worldwide, endangering the efficacy of antibiotics, which have transformed medicine and saved millions of lives.

The antibiotic resistance crisis has been attributed to the overuse and misuse of these antibiotic medications, not only in humans, but also in food animals, making them unsafe for consumption, according to NIH research “Antibiotics In Animal Feed”.

A 2009 Oxford Academy FEMS Microbiology Reviews study found that accumulating evidence that antibiotics, besides their antimicrobial action, potentially have a number of undesired side effects that can, at least in some cases, promote genetic variability of bacteria.  In addition to resistant variants, antibiotics have also been shown to select mutator clones, thus stimulating evolution towards further resistance.

New treatments now being prescribed to replenish good bacteria in the gut, not only involve changing to specific high nutritional diets, but also the prescribing of prebiotics, probiotics, and eating naturally fermented foods.  Fermented foods are very effective in restoring the beneficial flora in the digestive system, for proper digestion and reduced inflammation.  A 2018 Harvard Medical School “Fermented Foods For Better Gut Health” study proclaimed the health and wellness benefits of naturally fermented foods in restoring microflora bacteria.

Unhealthy Gene-Deforming Fatty Processed Foods

Stop Eating Foods That Are Unhealthy.  Modern-day convenience foods like found in the “Western-type diet” which Americans eat, are nutritionally-deprived, and have a detrimental effect on your health and well being, which was confirmed in a 2014 Nutrition Journal study reviewed by the NIH.

The majority of the available foods today for distribution and consumption, lack in proper nutrition, because of industry practices.  These modern-day practices include over-use of fast foods and processed foods by the general public.  All these unhealthy convenience foods are low in fiber, high in saturated fat and sugar, and added preservatives, dyes, and flavoring.

It also includes the use of “pre” everything–pre-frozen, precooked, pre-processed, not to mention the methods of distribution of what starts out to be fresh nutritious foods, sometimes traveling over thousands of miles in refrigerated trucks.  The importance of being fresh, as humanly possible, can’t be stressed enough, because foods can loose as much as 50 percent of nutrients if not fresh, found a University of Akron “Food Storage and Nutrients” study.

Americans also tend to eat more unhealthy foods and the following foods should be avoided:  unhealthy processed or refined foods, or precooked foods, high-sugar, processed meats, or high-sodium foods, fried foods, or microwavable foods.  All nutrient-dense foods should be grown certified organic also and GMO-free, per another 2017 Environmental Health (NIH) study.  One very good option here is to plant fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, in your own backyard garden.

Eating Your Way to Better Genes

Recent studies in the Nature Vs Nurture Examples, such as a 2019 Nutrients study reviewed by the NIH, have suggested that the intestinal microbiome plays an important role in modulating risk of several chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Healthy Wild-Caught Shrimp Veggies and Olive Oil

At the same time, it is now understood that diet plays a significant role in shaping the microbiome, with experiments showing that dietary alterations can induce large, temporary microbial shifts within a 24 hour period.  Given this association, there may be significant therapeutic utility in altering microbial composition through diet, according to a 2017 Journal of Translational Medicine (NIH) study.

Dieticians can recommend certain type foods for certain conditions altering the behavior of the gut microflora.  One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and reviewed by Harvard Medical School 2017 “Healthy lifestyle may ease genetic risk for heart disease” study, found that patients, after studying their family history, with a genetic predisposition to heart disease could cut their risk in half by adopting good diet and exercise habits.

The cause of cancer, for example, is a complex interplay mechanism of genetic and environmental factors, according to a 2016 ScienceDirect study in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure.  Dietary intake of nutrient-dense foods is an essential environmental factor and there is a marked variation in cancer development with the same dietary intake between individuals due to gene variants.  There is much evidence to support genetic factors play a key role in the development of cancer; these genetic factors such as DNA instability and gene alterations are affected by nutrition.

Another 2011 Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) study found that for gene health and to limit your risk of most lifestyle-related diseases, requires a balance of one-third protein, one-third fat and one-third carbohydratesThe average Western diet has 65 percent carbs which causes genes to work overtime, effecting genes that cause inflammation, and also genes associated with development of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, dementia, and type 2 diabetes, and all the major lifestyle-related diseases, found a 2016 Journal of Missouri State Medical Association (NIH) study.

Nutrient-Rich Mediterranean Diet For Healthy Genes

For nutritious meals and healthy genes, eat fresh, organic, well-balanced nutrient-dense foods, such as grass-fed finished lean meats, fresh, organic, free-range finished poultry, grass-fed finished dairy and eggs (A); fresh cold-water or wild-caught fish and seafood (A); fresh organic fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and edible flower seeds (A).

You should also include organic whole grains and complex carbohydrates, natural fermented foods, monounsaturated oils like extra virgin olive oil, fresh organic herbs and spices, and antioxidant drinks, infused water, naturally fermented red wine and beer, and fruit and veggie smoothies (A). And, reward yourself with a piece of dark chocolate for a snack! Yes, that’s right, dark chocolate, not milk chocolate (A).

Benefits of the Natural Healing Whole Food Maca

For added healthy benefits and for assurance of maintaining your healthy genes, supplement your diet with a natural healing, certified organic, whole food Adaptogen, Peruvian Maca (A), which will provide you with all the same benefits of fresh nutritional whole foods.  It contains five different sterols (lowers colesterol), naturally occuring fruit sugar, and phytonutrients glucosinolates, or polyphenols, (plant bioactive compounds) believed to have anti-cancer properties.

healing food maca

P Maca is a natural Adaptogen and the health benefits are many and wide-ranging.  An Adaptogen is a type of natural plant which has known healing qualities, and it aids the body to “adapt” to changes, and also aids in building resistance to invasions by harmful microorganisms, or disease, not only physically, but also emotionally and physiologically, in reducing symptoms of mood swings, depression and anxiety.

P Maca is a natural energy booster “Super Food”, enhancing energy, mood, and memory.  It has anti-imflammatory properties, is a natural antioxidant, a natural stress reducer, hormones balancer such as estrogen, inhances fertility, improves mild erectile dysfunction, improves libido in women and reduces symptoms of menopause.

P Maca is an amazing healing plant!  The wide ranging benefits of Peruvian Maca are well documented, and are incredible, per this 2008 Menopause study reviewed by the NIH.  Read more about this amazing plant in these review MACA POWDER HEALTH BENEFITS, and “WHAT IS IN MACA ROOT?”  PLUS get your FREE copy of the e book THE SECRET SCIENCE OF STAYING SLIM, SANE, AND SEXY AFTER 40, and your FREE 7-night trial sample of JULVA.

So, now that you have reviewed all the documented studies on Nature Vs Nurture Examples offered in this article, are you going to take a serious look at your family history (nurture)to see if you are predisposed to certain illness or disease, and are you willing to make some lifestyle  or environmental changes (nature) to improve your genetic health?  Are you willing to try Maca?  Please contact me below for more in depth information, or if you have comments or, let us know if you have your questions, so we can address them.

For more information on the nurture or nature debate, read this article “Study About Heredity.”

(A) Use these links for more in depth information, more documented studies, and to purchase any of these incredible nutrient-dense foods for gene health.