MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: how does the environment effect your genetics?

Date: Mon Mar 3 03:42:50 2003
Posted By: Jeremy Cherfas, Staff, Public Awareness, IPGRI (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute)
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 1038788138.Ge

Dear Jennifer

It seems to me there are two possible questions here.

One is, does the environment have an effect on genes? That is, do 
environmental factors change the DNA. The answer is definitely yes. I 
suggest you search for information on radiation AND mutation, carcinogens 
AND mutation, chemicals AND mutation. That sort of thing. You will some up 
with plenty of sites.

The other question is, do environmental factors affect the expression of 
an individual's genes. Again, the answer is yes. A classic example is the 
disease known as phenylketonuria. (Again, a search on that will turn up 
plenty of information.) In this case, if an individual's diet is changed, 
the gene has practically no effect on development. And some of the effects 
of PKU, as it is known, certainly affect personality.


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