What did you think about the reading?
These last to chapters of the book I found very fascinating because it delved deeper into why we are the way that we are. I still find part three to be most interesting but this was a close second. I still believe her style of writing is what makes keep wanting to read her book. Her sense of humor and subtle jokes plus accurate facts makes a great combination for an amazing book. All in all this book was way beyond what I thought it would be. It wasn’t just some textbook about science, but an actual account of life. I have learned so much from this book and a deeper understanding of life.
What did you learn?
In chapter seven I learned about epigenetics. I discovered many interesting facts about the agouti mice and how some genes can be switched on and off. I learned how there are many factors that can affect the way an organism gives birth. For example, the gene for a furry coat in micebcan be turned on and off depending on what time of year the mother is giving birth to the new organism. So the external environment does in fact affect the way an organism is born. I learned of the potential epigenetics holds to make humans a better race of humans. What I found completely mind blowing is how a grandmother who smokes can affect its grandchild’s life more than it affects the fetus she is holding. It also occurred to me during the reading that most of science is guess work, nothing is definite. To discover something new there is a lot of trial and error.
In chapter eight the focus was how progia works and who it affects. I learned how normal aging and progeria are closely related on the genetic level. Because they are related, it hints that aging is something we are pre-destined for. I learned how all cells except for stem cells have a limit to how many times they can divide. And the reason there is a limit, Hayflick limit, is because of cancer. Even though there is an evolutionary way to stop cancer, cancer finds a way around it. In this case the way around it is because evolution uses telomeres, cancer uses an enzyme called telomerase to make the telomeres longer, This way the cancer continues to divide without having to worry about ever running out of telomeres. Stem cells also uses telomerase which is why scientist think that stem cells may hold an answer to getting rid of cancer. Stem cells and cancer cells are like two twin brothers with super powers; the only difference is that cancer uses its power for evil. Lastly what I learned is that the reason birthing under water is easier than conventional delivery is because we may have descended from aquatic apes, but who knows?
What questions do you still have?
My questions are if epigenetics can make us smarter, faster, and healthier would it be morally “right”? Why does a smoking grandmother affect her child’s eggs more than it affects the actual child? If progeria speeds up aging, is there a way to slow it down? Can the secret to not aging be found in a food that can switch the aging mechanism into the off position? If water birthing is known to be easier than conventional ways, why don’t people use it more often? Is it because of ignorance or not wanting to change?