Change the Way We  Look at Things.

   The noted Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  The ever unfolding science of ep1genetics has certainly changed the way we look at many aspects of genetics and health is both humans and animals. 

A good example of this is a recent internet item entitled, “Growing Up Poor Not Only Affects Your Health, It Changes as Many as 1 in 13 Genes.”  1    This article provides new insights into the already known problem of ‘growing up ‘poor’.  Poverty not only effects physical and mental health but has the potential to alter the expression of your genetic makeup.  

Epigenetics involves chemical changes to DNA that prevent or enhance the the effect of a gene sequence.The study revealed nearly eight percent of our genome can be affected by chemical edits that could stick with you for life.  These changes have the potential to be passed to future generations. 

The World Health Organisation estimates some 1.2 billion people across the globe are making their way through life on less than a dollar per day.The persistence of the by genetic changes passed down through the generations does not bode well for a quick fix to worldwide poverty

I think most of the principles illustrated here apply to our animals as well as humans. I don’t know how to describe what  ‘growing up poor’ means to our domestic animals.  I suspect it has mostly to do with poor nutrition along with some environmental or emotional stress. Young animals suffer from malnutrition or severe illness during her early years never to reach their full potential for health and production. As in humans these  traits are passed to succeeding generations.  

In times past it was not uncommon for some dairies to have fiver of six generations of animals in the herds.  I attribute this to the beneficial epigenetic effect of stable nutrition and environment over the generations.   Obviously this does not happen much today.  The average dairy cow in this country dies at about 54 months of age without reaching adulthood.  This is a sad commentary on our dairy industry.

Years ago a study was done on groups of Iowa pigs.  Young pregnant gilts (Gen 1) were fed a diet deficient in nutrients and minerals. The offspring of these animals (Gen 2) were evaluated for any adverse effects from the poor diet.  Amazingly these pigs performed as well as their dams and showed no obvious bad effects.

Then, gilts from the Gen 2 group were fed the same deficient diet and their offspring (Gen 3) were evaluated.   These animals showed a multitude of effects, including  low weight gain and unthriftiness.   Many of them seem to revert back to an almost primitive ‘razer-back appearance and did not show typical appearance of there breed. 

Gilts from this group (Gen 4) were then fed an adequate diet to see if they would reverse the previous damage.  They did not.

Gilts from this group were also fed a good ration and their offspring (Gen 5) again exhibited characteristics of the breed with good production and health. 

The above study provides a good example of the epigenetic effect of good nutrition or bad nutrition in several generation of swine.  


Providing our animals with good nutrition and balanced minerals has no d0wnside