Epigenetics and You.

This I challenge you to reflect on your life in the light of the of re-emerging evolutionary focus
on epigenetics.
The Center for Disease Control defines epigenetics as the study of how your behaviors
and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. Unlike genetic
changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence, but
they can change how your body reads a DNA sequence. Gene expression refers to how
often or when proteins are created from the instructions within your genes. While genetic
changes can alter which protein is made, epigenetic changes affect gene expression to
turn genes “on” and “off.” Since your environment and behaviors, such as diet and
exercise, can result in epigenetic changes, it is easy to see the connection between your
genes and your behaviors and environment.
Recent research demonstrates that physiological changes at the level of DNA are caused by
trauma. Changes in DNA can be passed down through the generations. The Body Keeps the
Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Sean Pratt, Bessel A. van der Kolk,
et al was the first major popular work to discuss epigenetics and how the body holds onto hurt,
pain, trauma, and emotional experience. My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the
Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem is just one of the recent
popular works that looks at how the genetic inheritance of trauma for both white people and
people of color shapes the experience and thus the understanding of race. Lamarck's Revenge:
How Epigenetics Is Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Evolution's Past and Present by Peter
Ward places epigenetics in context of the larger conversation about DNA and evolution by
natural selection.
My challenge to you this month is reflect on your life in the light of the fact that trauma can be
passed down through generations. What trauma might you have inherited that has informed who
you are? What trauma have you experienced that might influence your children? What healing
has an ancestor done or what healing have you done that might be an influence on correcting the
course of generational trauma?

Once again expressing your internal reflection by journaling or creating art is a great way to
process what you’re pondering.

As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences with this challenge. Call or text me at 508-344-3668 or send me an email at revtony@pm.me.