Not all in the genes

Another interesting study shows that genes are not everything, and stochastic differences may result in variation in responses. We already know that our lifestyle choices have a huge effect on our health, but I'd like to suggest another conclusion, which is that we should look into modifying stochastic elements directly as another path to improving ourselves: this path doesn't go through genes (which we can't control very well, yet) or lifestyle choices (which we can control very well, but have a limited effect), but through transient treatments. For example, modifying bacterial populations within the body, or hormone levels, can actually help switching between phenotypic modes in ways that lifestyle interventions can't. Of course, this kind of intervention is very difficult as well, so how are we better off than trying to modify our genes or their expression? Not much better off, but if we find at least one way to modify the stochastic components, a single treatment can have a large effect. Of course, this is what we already do with lifestyle: for example, losing weight and lifting weights can bring you to a new state which is easier to maintain than it is to get there.


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