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Geneticists have know for many years that identical twins are not actually identical. Although they have the same DNA, nevertheless they can be noticeably different. This suggested that there were other factors that controlled the DNA that could make changes to the final product; DNA was not the only factor that determined what the individual looked like or his metabolism. Young twins may be almost identical, but they gradually diverge as they age, and may have quite different illnesses. Research has shown that twins living apart or with differing lifestyles vary more widely than twins who have lived together; they have differing susceptibility to diseases and "up to 70% of the contribution to a particular disease can be non-genetic."
The question was "What were these factors?" Clearly, they are "above" (epi-) the genes and their study is called "epigenetics". Two have now been found and have been reported in Nature v441 p143-5.

The first is Methylation, in which methyl marks added to certain DNA bases repress the gene activity - i.e. the gene is "turned off". Thus they are a controlling agent.

The more interesting factor is the presence of histones in the DNA (See Fig. below) The DNA double helix is coiled up and is then wrapped around a histone. "Tails" are attached to the histone and these tails are affected by the chemicals in the different fluids in each cell. Up to twenty can attach themselves to each tail, and they can modify the effect of the genes in that area.


It appears that the varying fluids surrounding the histones affect the tails and therefore the histones which in turn affect the activity of the DNA. Thus the environment of the histones does affect the DNA. These varying surroundings makes studies of the subject very complicated.
As these epigenomes can modify the DNA activity and can be changed more easily than modifying the DNA itself, they are being carefully studied in the battle against cancer, development, ageing, mental health, infertility and other diseases.

Cortical Inheritance
This is not the first time that it has been found that there are factors that control the final product apart from the DNA sequence. Cortical Inheritance studies have shown that there is considerable genetic information in the surface of the cell (cortex) that determines the form of the final product. This field of research has been examined by Dr. Arthur Jones who provided this writer with much information on the subject [1]. It is possible that the main features (species?) of the final form are determined by the information in the cortex, whilst the particular variety (height, eye colour etc.) are determined by the DNA. This new discovery that methylation and the histones also control the DNA results shows just how complex the whole metabolism of living organisms really is.
It has been found that even researching the metabolism of a "simple" organism such as a bacterium, far from clarifying how they work, has resulted in increasing levels of complexity being uncovered. There is also the vast subject of how DNA and other controlling factors in a cell eventually produce a living organism. Whilst research on this subject is ongoing, the phenomenally complex chain of events between the initial cell and the complete organism has hardly been touched!

Addendum - another marvel of the cell - the "cage" for folding proteins

There has been further research on "cages" [See Fig. above] within cells in which proteins carry out their folding procedure. [Nature 441:670] It was thought that the proteins "were simply protected from interaction with other molecules, but proteins inside its cavity fold more quickly than they do in the open. The researchers show that both the size of the proteins caging cavity and its surface charge are important in optimising folding speed."

Surely, we (and all God's creatures) are "fearfully and wonderfully made" [Ps. 139:14] such that "even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." [Luke 11:31]

Malcolm Bowden.
January 2007
NOTE-Drawings have been completely redrawn from Nature article and can be used by creation lecturers. This applies to ALL drawings on this website.
[1] A brief synopsis of this subject of Cortical Inheritance is given in my Rise of the Evolution Fraud pp.125ff. [Sovereign Publications 1982. Unfortunately it is now out of stock but an enlarged and updated edition should be available at some time in the future.]
These investigations into Cortical Inheritance were not popular because evolutionists seek a random mechanism that can bring about changes. This is why Mendel's work on peas was well known to the scientific world, but was deliberately ignored until the mechanism of random mutations was discovered.
Because Cortical Inheritance similarly demonstrated that the information that can bring about many changes in any organism is already within the cell, and that no chance mutation was involved, work on this subject was stopped.
In view of this blockage, I gave in the reference section of the book the eight papers provided by Dr. Jones that were available at the time of writing. These references can be forwarded by email to anyone seeking to study this subject further. My present email contact is on this website but in view of the many changes that can take place on the internet in the future, surfing the web for my name should provide any new website and my email address.

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