Survival of the Sickest: Chapters 7, 8, and the conclusion

What did you think about the reading? 

I thought chapter 7 was really interesting and I thought the whole idea about methyl markers was extremely perplexing and shocking, especially the part where something changed by a methyl marker can be passed down for generations. I thought the whole “aquatic ape” idea was very unique and applicable. It was also really intriguing to learn about how we are programmed to die. Overall, I thought the book was really good and I really enjoyed reading it and learning about evolution in a whole new way.

What did you learn?


I learned that a baby girl born in 2000 had a 40% chance of Type Two Diabetes, that what the mother eats in the first few days of pregnancy can affect the child for the rest of his life, about methyl markers, about the agouti mice, about epigenetics, about how adding choline to a mouse’s diet increases its memory, about the Barker hypothesis, about how a child’s grandmother’s methyl markers may affect the child more than his mother’s, how one’s treatment and environment can actually add/take away methyl markers, about azacitidine, and how male children are born in good times and females are more likely to be born in rough times. I learned about Progeria, Werner syndrome, about the Hayflick limit, about apoptosis, about how stem cells are immortal, how the larger the mammal the longer the life span, about biogenic obsolescence, about how doctors have found a way to reverse the effects of Progeria, about the Savanna hypothesis and about the aquatic ape theory.

What questions do you still have?

What genes can be turned off in humans? If a thin brown agouti mouse mated with another thin brown agouti mouse, would their children be thin and brown or yellow and fat? How many generations can the methyl markers and change in genetics be passed down before it is weeded out? Is there a gene that if turned on or off will immediately result in cancer? Was azacitidine taken off of the market? Could doctors find a way to stop aging by giving humans a lot of lamin A.? What cell can reproduce the longest besides cancer? Could we use telomerase to increase the life expectancy of good cells? Could we possibly use epigenetics and methyl markers to turn off the gene for telomerase in cancer cells? If cancer can change cells and add telomerase to them, doesn’t aging kind of lose its purpose? If humans no longer live in super aquatic environments, why do we still have the twisted birth canals?

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