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Epigenetics: are you what your parents ate?

56.11

Epigenetics: are you what your parents ate?

‘Babies born into poverty are damaged forever before birth’; ‘Mother’s diet during pregnancy alters baby’s DNA’; ‘Pregnant 9/11 survivors transmitted trauma to their children.’ These extraordinary headlines all have their basis in epigenetics, which, put crudely, explores how we can inherit acquired characteristics. For campaigners who have long argued early infant experience determines wellbeing in later life, this seems to be a vindication from science. Nevertheless, critics take issue with their sometimes moralistic conclusions. Does epigenetics finally break down the distinction between the natural and social sciences, or is it all the more important to disentangle the two? A must watch Battle of Ideas debate.

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Related topics: Debates, Science & Progress

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