The new field of epigenetics has transformed the entire “nature versus nurture” debate.
Scientists have recently found that the genes in a human body, approximately 23,000 of them, operate based on instructions “written” on them by environmental influences and that the environment even influences whether and when genes are “turned on” or “turned off” and thus whether they express themselves at all.
Epigenetics is the term that describes this process.
Fetal and early post-natal development are critical times in the susceptibility of genes to epigenetic modification. For this reason, parental behavior when a child is in the womb and during the earliest years has a critical impact on a child’s developing body and mind.
Researchers have actually shown that parental care causes changes in the cells of the brain and body through epigenetic modification.
Epigenetic coding can be enduring or transitory. When enduring, it can change the behavior of genes in families through generations.