Evolution is a fact and most of the world accepts that genes are passed from one generation to another. The dogma has been that these genes are fixed, only to be changed as natural forces favor those individuals with certain genetic advantages who in turn pass these genes on to offspring. The dogma has been: Genes cannot be turned off or on by experiences or by environment. Well, just like most things that we thought were right, it turns out that some genes can in fact be turned on or off in a person’s lifetime.

What, the world is not flat? OMG, since Darwin we have clung to evolution as the truth, just like our ancestors once believed that world was flat. Yes, evolution still works. It just that there might be a little wiggle room for each one of us to turn on or off genes. What does this mean? It means that our life experiences whether good or bad can be passed on to our kids. For example, pregnant women who directly experienced the 9/11 tragedy were more likely to have infants who displayed above average levels of fear after loud noises or new food. It is well known that low levels of certain vitamins can cause genes to change and increase risk of brain or spinal cord defects in children. And these changes in genes can and have been proven to be passed on to offspring.

Cancer is another area where these changes in genes or epigenetics ( a nice, new catchy phrase which means the study of how genes can be turned on or off by experiences and environment) is seen. Certain foods for example such as soy beans, red grapes and green tea contain methyl groups . These foods might protect against cancer by turning off cancer genes.

What does this all mean? You might have gotten that alcoholism gene from your dad, but if you stop your drinking and overcome the addiction, it might and I stress might turn off that addiction gene and your son might then not get that gene. You could be pathological liar (read politician) and then before you are pregnant, change your evil ways and voila your kid won’t end up in politics and not inherit that gene for lying.