Lamarckism Returns: ‘Epigenegtics the next big thing’

Alarmist researchers would like to use neo-Lamarckism to scare people about politically incorrect exposures causing hereditable harms.

From the International Journal of Epidemiology:

Epigenetics: the next big thing
By Shah Ebrahim
Corresponding author. E-mail: shah.ebrahim@lshtm.ac.uk

The theme of this issue of International Journal of Epidemiology is epigenetics. Perhaps, we are rather late as TIME magazine featured an article ‘Why your DNA isn’t your destiny’ in January 2010.1 The TIME article focused on transgenerational effects of the cycles of famine and plenty affecting Norrbotten, northern Sweden in the 19th century and studied more recently by Lars Byrgen. Byrgen found a marked reduction in longevity of grandchildren whose grandparents had been exposed to abundant food in childhood. Could this be due to inheritance of an epigenetic effect provoked by glut? Or might socio-cultural transmission of environmental factors across generations be a more plausible explanation? Or could it just be a chance finding? Animal experiments may help sort this out. The article cited an agouti mouse (it has a mutant gene that codes for yellow coat, increased body weight and an increased risk of diabetes) experiment that showed that pregnant agouti mice given folic acid and vitamin B12 had offspring with brown coats and normal weight and did not develop diabetes, to illustrate epigenetic effects. One of the mechanisms by which epigenetic changes occur is through methylation of DNA that alters gene expression. Folic acid and vitamin B12 are involved in the methyl donation pathway, leading to methylation of the agouti gene and altering its expression in the offspring. However, such effects are actually within generation (i.e. the fetus and its development into a pup) and do not provide evidence of transgenerational transmission. Undeterred, the TIME article extrapolated from this work to a range of human conditions (autism, memory, longevity and obesity) raising the flag for Lamarckism—the inheritance…

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is widely remembered for a theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, called soft inheritance, Lamarckism or use/disuse theory.”