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Can you change your DNA during your life

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  • Can you change your DNA during your life

    My question is does your DNA change at all during your lifetime?

    I.e if some one is from a skinny family and perhaps did lots of body building etc what would be in the DNA he passed on to later gernerations - is it possible anything but the "skinny" DNA is passed on?

  • #2
    Larger bodies might have more dna because of mass.

    I don't think there is Skinny, and over-weight DNA.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Camel Kid
      My question is does your DNA change at all during your lifetime?

      I.e if some one is from a skinny family and perhaps did lots of body building etc what would be in the DNA he passed on to later gernerations - is it possible anything but the "skinny" DNA is passed on?
      You could acquire some bad habits and pass them on: like eating greasy, fried foods and loads of white sugar while watching the boob tube all day.

      Then no one would ever know your family had skinny dna!

      If you want to alter your family's dna, marry an athletic, muscular girl (if you're a guy) or an athletic, muscular guy (if you're a girl). Then have a bunch of kids and hope at least some of them inherit the tendency to be athletic and muscular.

      Lots of people are skinny as kids. If you exercise and eat a healthy, well-rounded diet, you will develop to your full physical potential.
      Last edited by Stevo; 15 June 2006, 07:57 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by M.O'Connor
        Larger bodies might have more dna because of mass.

        I don't think there is Skinny, and over-weight DNA.
        I'd be shocked if something in our DNA did NOT control the rate and manner with which we metabolize food, but the real question is whether a person can PURPOSELY alter their own DNA through normal behavior, I think.

        I just don't see how this would be possible. DNA is coded into the core of every cell, so the odds of triggering a global mutation through something like exercise would be nearly infinitesimal.

        I think Stevo is on the right track: your best bet is to marry someone with "better" genes and hope some of them stick when you have a child. Actually your best best is to find two people with better genes to create a child for you, but I don't see the fun in that.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Camel Kid
          My question is does your DNA change at all during your lifetime?

          I.e if some one is from a skinny family and perhaps did lots of body building etc what would be in the DNA he passed on to later gernerations - is it possible anything but the "skinny" DNA is passed on?
          What you're referring to is known as inheritance of acquired characters or traits and was originally proposed by nineteenth century, French naturalist Lamarck. It has been proven wrong.

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          • #6
            In case of Leukemia you might be treated with bone marrow transplant. If successful, the bone marrow cells and blood cells will replace your own cells, and your blood type will be of the same kind as of the donor's. Could this then affect the DNA and the markers we speak of in this forum, if they would be determined from a blood sample (not a swap sample, although it also might include pats of blood)?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LeoLoS
              In case of Leukemia you might be treated with bone marrow transplant. If successful, the bone marrow cells and blood cells will replace your own cells, and your blood type will be of the same kind as of the donor's. Could this then affect the DNA and the markers we speak of in this forum, if they would be determined from a blood sample (not a swap sample, although it also might include pats of blood)?
              There's a condition medically known as chimerism that can sometimes occur after bone marrow and organ transplants, even blood transfusions. Read the abstact below from a medical study:

              We have used DNA sequence polymorphism analysis to document engraftment after T cell-depleted bone marrow transplantation (BMT), with a selected panel of four DNA probes. In contrast to nondepleted BMT recipients, the patients who received T cell-depleted marrow exhibited a mixed blood chimerism. This mosaicism was observed before graft failure or relapse in six patients. However, in five other patients, this mixed chimerism was not followed by these complications with a follow-up of 9 to 31 months after transplantation. Our results support the hypothesis that transplanted bone marrow T cells may help to maintain engraftment by eliminating host cells that can cause graft failure.
              One thing worth noticing about mature red blood cells is that they don't have a nucleus, therefore they are not a good source for DNA sampling. When DNA is taken from blood it always comes from other types of blood cells.

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              • #8
                It's possible that the person who had the bone marrow or organ transplant may not have got the different DNA from the donor but could have themselves been a chimera, it would go someway to explaining why only one of those sample group gave chimera readings.

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                • #9
                  If you had a stem cell transplant, would your DNA change

                  If you had a stem cell transplant, would your DNA change?
                  Answer
                  A fantastic question! It's not just stem cells you need to consider, but indeed any type of organ transplant or tissue donation. Another person, unless they are your identical twin, will have DNA different from your own. The reason lung transplants or bone marrow transplants actually work is because you are substituting dodgy tissue for healthy tissue. At the same time, you are replacing a gene that has gone wrong by putting in a healthy copy of the gene. That means the DNA in the tissue you've replaced will be different. The rest of your body won't change. If you do a bone marrow stem cell transplant for someone with leukemia, the cells that you will have inside your bone marrow will come from your donor. Therefore, they will also be genetically identical to the donor. This means that a man who receives a bone marrow transplant from a lady will have bone marrow cells that have two X chromosomes. Sometimes people can even see a change in their blood group.

                  It does for a very short time (few minutes) take on the components of another person’s DNA, but it soon converts back entirely to your own. The same with blood transfusions. The DNA of another is absorbed and excreted quickly. It is just as easily absorbed and disposed of by merely kissing another person. The patient becomes a chimera - meaning that they have two different sets of dna.
                  And, likewise, since you are ONLY changing marrow and blood, you will not pass down the inherited characteristics. Inherited characteristics are determined by the dna contained in the sperm and egg... bone marrow transplant won’t change that.

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                  • #10
                    A number of studies have now indicated that epigenetics leads to stresses suffered by grandparents being reflected in their grandchildren, and so on. It's not just DNA, but whether genes are turned off or on.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

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                    • #11
                      Definitely an interesting question!

                      This isn't my field of speciality but I would imagine that the answer is a bit of both (nature vs nurture). Some parts of your DNA can't be changed and other parts could be changed over time.

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                      • #12
                        I have not heard of a single case where the actual DNA genome has changed, but epigenetic modifications are well documented. So in one way Lamarck was correct, only he pointed to the wrong cause.

                        In addition to the referenced Wiki page Nessa Carey's two books on "The Epigentics Revolution" and "Junk DNA" are well worth reading for anyone who wants more detailed information.

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                        • #13
                          There is a book Benjamin A. Pierce: Genetics A Conceptual Approach (fifth edition), ISBN-13: 978-1-4641-0946-1. In that book there is a chapter Epigenetics. "Through epigenetics, crop abundance and failure can have health effects that persist for several generations.

                          You can read that chapter.

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