Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our Intelligent Cells

In his seminal work, 'The Biology of Belief’, Brian Lipton introduces the concept of Epigenetics or the science of the effect the environment has on switching genes on or off.⁠[i]

    Lipton is a Cellular Biologist and former Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. After some 20 years as a pre-eminent biologist, pioneering the cloning of cells, Lipton realised that the cell tuned itself to its environment, and it was the environment, not our DNA that determined our evolution. He realised that the environment provides the cues that a cell uses to determine which codes to switch on or off. Even more startling, Lipton provides proof that cells actually assemble new DNA in response to environmental conditions.

    Perhaps, most startling of all, Lipton shows that cells borrow DNA from other species, and that the human body is actually a community of differentiated cells, working and cooperating with foreign species - like the bugs in our gut - to do more than survive.

    All of this goes hand in hand with what quantum biologists are discovering about the way DNA codes are affected by emotions, behaviour and environmental conditions.

    What Lipton adds to the debate is that every cell in our body is listening to our thoughts, feeling our emotions and responding to the thoughts and emotions of others. Like ripples in a pond, the DNA within our cells organises itself according to the needs of the cell and then broadcasts this response into the environment.

    Now the ramifications of this growing body of science are astounding. There is a revolution occurring in the world of the evolutionary sciences. Darwin is no longer pre-eminent with his 19th century doctrine of survival of the fittest, and the determinism of the genes. Darwin's contemporary, and the first to publish a theory of evolution - Lamarc - was long pilloried for his belief that cells are more than factories at the whim of flight or fight responses. His thesis that an organism evolves through co-operation is at long last being considered by modern science. In the battle for hearts and minds in the scientific community where nature seemed to triumph over nurture, the tide has turned. Nurture now seems to be the determining factor in what gets expressed by genes.
  
What all evolutionary scientists, cell biologists and geneticists agree upon, however, and what is often not conveyed to the general public, is that our genes are how we store and transmit the memory of our experiences from one generation to another. Our DNA is a portable library, one where new books are being written, old books re-read, and others edite
  
    So what does this mean for you and I?

    It means that we are not at the mercy of our genetics: that unless we suffer from one of a small handful of genetic conditions like aplastic anaemia, our genetic make-up is far more mutable than previously publicised. The environment we live in, the experiences we have and the choices we make about our environment, behaviour and thoughts determine what gets switched on or off, or indeed constructed in our DNA.

    As someone who was born with a potentially fatal genetic condition, I have experienced the power of choice in my life. The choices I have made around healthy food, to exercise regularly, avoid alcohol and tobacco, pharmaceuticals and recreational-drugs has helped me to beat the odds. However, the decision to manage my thoughts and emotions has been even more profound.

    By focusing on positive outcomes and committing my energy, intent and actions to the steps that will make these outcomes a reality, I know I have changed my destiny. I did not perish at three years of age, from bowel disease, although I was diagnosed with it. I did not die at 12 as a result of the four strokes I suffered. I was not in a wheel chair at fourteen or dead before adulthood. I am now nearly 50 years old, the mother of four healthy children with a full and productive life. I have outlived my mother, who died at 44 of breast cancer.

    In short I have made the best of a bad lot. What the future brings is anybody's guess. What I do know is that I have choices, and I will continue to exercise my ability to choose as long as I draw breath. I will continue to thank the collection of 50 trillion or so smart cells that make up my being, and send them supportive, healthy messages through the physical, emotional and mental choices I make; and I will acknowledge the messages they send to me, and interpret them in context, choosing the most appropriate response.

    For me, the quest to understand our biology and how our DNA, environment, behaviour and emotions interact is extremely personal. However, you don't need a genetic condition for this to matter. It is in the interest of all of us on this planet to ask ourselves a simple question each day.

    "What have I cast my vote for today? Through the choices I have made did I vote for health and a productive, useful life, or did I vote for something else?"

    This is what I have asked myself every day since I was twelve years old and a doctor gave me a death sentence. Through my choices, I believe I proved him wrong. Thanks to scientists like Lipton, I can begin to understand why.


This article is an excerpt from The Energy Code, by Elisabetta L. Faenza, published by Motivational Press for release late 2014.

[i]  Lipton, Dr. Bruce, H., The Biology of Belief, Hay House, NY,
2008

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