Excerpt from Page 27 – “Primer on genetics and epigenetics”

Published August 30, 2016

HOOKED: A concise guide to the underlying mechanics of addiction and treatment for patients, families, and providers | Arwen Podesta, MD

Excerpt from Page 27 – “Primer on genetics and epigenetics”

You are born with a set of genes, half from your mother and half
from your father. Your genetic code is like an architect’s blueprint
for a house. Many aspects are set in stone—eye color and gender are
good examples. Like in the blueprint, the location of the front door
and the number of stories are for certain. But many outcomes are
related to the environment and the materials, such as how the genes
fold and make proteins, and whether the right nutrients and building
blocks are available. In the house analogy, what type of siding and
floors, as well as whether the land is arid or wet, will determine
much about how the house looks, feels, and functions. In us, our
levels of stress and chaos influence the proteins made. While young,
trauma and abuse, peer influences, general health, and nutrition all
determine how the genes fold to make proteins. Epigenetics is how
the environment changes the genetic outcome to make someone
more or less susceptible to his or her genetic blueprint.