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Alternation Of Gene

Genetics as it applies to evolution, molecular biology, and medical aspects.

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Alternation Of Gene

Postby AntZ » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:58 am

If we continuously pinch our nose will it gradually gets thinner and longer? I got a lot of references denying the question because the shape of the body is determined by genes. If it's true, then could we change the shape of our body by modifying our gene (if it's even possible)? Is there any breakthrough regarding this?
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Re: Alternation Of Gene

Postby JackBean » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:34 am

what you're referring to is lamarckism, however, it is overcome theory
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Postby AstraSequi » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:25 am

I think it would be only referring to Lamarckism if the question asked whether those traits could then be passed on to his/her children. :)

I think the general question is that whether you can make changes to your own body that would change one of your traits. The answer to that would be yes - for example, suntanning will darken the color of the skin (it's just that the change won't be passed on to any children). However, I think something like changing your body shape by pulling on your nose is highly unlikely to ever be experimentally tested, since you would need to get people to have their nose pinched repeatedly over many years. If you can't collect the information under controlled conditions, you can never know for sure.

Could we change the shape of our body by modifying our genes? In theory, it should be possible - though it depends on what you mean by a "modification." I would imagine it would require treatments to return some of our cells to a stem-cell state, because the developmental genes that define body shape are generally finished their job and then irreversibly inactivated before you're born. Some animals that can regenerate limbs are able to do this, so it could be feasible to do something similar in humans. It would then be a relatively small intervention to make sure that your arm grows back a bit longer, or with other small changes you might want to make. The whole thing would still be very hard though, because of the complexity of our developmental processes.


Just as a side note, there are a few recent papers showing that Lamarckism may actually be important in some rare cases involving epigenetic transfer from parents to children, but it's not been shown in humans nor for the effects to last more than a few generations. (For example, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22119442)
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Postby sachin » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:21 pm

It's lot like reverse engineering, change the phenotype to influence Genotypes. Actually, it is possible. What's causing our appendix to degenerate. It actually reverse action. No need to use - No stimuli - No growth. But pinching nose to make change in genes would probably need efforts for several generations may be thousands. (You would probably need to write it in your will for further generations). :lol:
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Re:

Postby JackBean » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:29 pm

AstraSequi wrote:I think it would be only referring to Lamarckism if the question asked whether those traits could then be passed on to his/her children. :)

I understood the question, whether would it become thiner over generations... It would make more sense to ask about genes in such case ;)

Anyway, if the question was concerning single individual, then in limited way yes, we could change our body. Some simple ways include sunbathing or exercising (or sitting in front of Tv or PC :lol:), the others require surgery and non-calcified cartilage. After pulling e.g. your legs, they can grow a little (maybe 1 or 2 cm after very long time).
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