Search Results for: epigenetics

Researchers criticize the Mukherjee piece on epigenetics: Part 2

Trigger warning: Long science post! Yesterday I provided a bunch of scientists’ reactions—and these were big names in the field of gene regulation—to Siddhartha Mukherjee’s ill-informed piece in The New Yorker, “Same but different” (subtitle: “How epigenetics can blur the line between nature and nurture”). Today, in part 2, I provide a sentence-by-sentence analysis and reaction […]

The New Yorker screws up big time with science: researchers criticize the Mukherjee piece on epigenetics

Abstract: This is a two part-post about a science piece on gene regulation that just appeared in the New Yorker. Today I give quotes from scientists criticizing that piece; tomorrow I’ll present a semi-formal critique of the piece by two experts in the field. ________ Yesterday I gave readers an assignment: read the new New Yorker piece by […]

Adam Rutherford’s article on epigenetics invokes profusion of angry tw**ts from Deepak Chopra and his minions

Since I started this website, I’ve written many posts on epigenetics, a term that now refers to modification of the nucleotide base composition of DNA by the environment or by other genes. Such modification—usually involving attachment of methyl groups to two of the four bases that make up DNA—may have significant effects on the organism, ranging from changed behavior to […]

Epigenetics smackdown at the Guardian

Well, since the tussle about epigenetics involves Brits, they’re really too polite to engage in a “smackdown.” Let’s just call it a “kerfuffle.” Nevertheless, two scientists have an enlightening 25-minute discussion about epigenetics at the Guardian‘s weekly science podcast (click the link and listen from 24:30 to 49:10). If you’re science friendly and have an […]

More puffery about epigenetics, and my usual role as go-to curmudgeon

The word “epigenetics” once meant simply “development”—that is, the way the genome worked itself into an organism through the production and regulation of proteins and absorption of food and materials from the outside, and the turning of some genes on and others off in different tissues.  Now, however, the term means roughly “forms of inheritance […]

Epigenetics again: will it cause a revolution in evolution?

Readers will know that from time to time (e.g., here and here) I weigh in on the persistent and loud claim that epigenetic inheritance (that is, the transmission from parent to offspring of traits that are not coded for in the DNA) will have huge effects on the current paradigm of neo-Darwinian evolution.  There’s a […]

Radio 4 on epigenetics and health

by Matthew Cobb We’ve discussed epigenetics and the occasionally (generally?) overblown claims about it a number of times (most recently here). BBC Radio 4 obviously loves it, as after their ‘A revolution in evolution’ programme back in July (which we discussed on WEIT), the third episode in a new series on human development and how […]

Is “epigenetics” a revolution in evolution?

One often hears the suggestion that the neo-Darwinian view of evolution is on the skids, and that that view will be completely changed—if not overturned—by new biological ideas like modularity, genetic assimilation, evolvability, and epigenetics.  Epigenetics in particular (I’ll define it in a moment) has been especially touted as a concept that will revolutionize evolutionary […]

Epigenetics kerfuffle

Last week I highlighted a piece on epigenetics by Florian Maderspacher, an editor at Current Biology.  (For this post I’ll define “epigenetics” as “inheritance that transcends generations but is not based on changes in DNA sequence”.) Florian decried all the current hype about epigenetics—that is, the idea that this phenomenon will revolutionize our view of […]

Epigenetics: the light and the way?

How often do you see an editor of a scientific journal complain that a field is overhyped?   Well, you can see it this week in Current Biology, where Florian Maderspacher, the senior reviews editor, takes out after the current penchant of  journalists to see epigenetics as the Great Missing Piece of Biology—a field that will […]