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Endangered Species: Epigenetics' impact on offsprings



The Earth has been around 4.5 Billion years and has seen some serious stuff during its life; cataclysms of all sorts and billions of species walking its ground, swimming its seas and flying its sky.  

Since the Earth’s birth, an estimated 5 billion species lived on the pale blue dot but 99% of them are now extinct. Today, we have a range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86% have not yet been described.  

Every year, new species are added to the dreadful list of “Endangered Species”, recently 7 species of yellow-faces bees are entering the danger-zone. However, once in a while, after years/decades of humans interaction, some species make it out the zone and can prosper again. Like escaping the event horizon of a black hole.

That triggered something in my brain, something must have changed in their genes or DNA to be able to adapt and survive. The “artificial” environment must have had a role to play in this, but how?


The closest answer I could find is Epigenetics: “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself”   This video (Ref Cited 2) explains that when the DNA is passed on to the next generation, the code used to turn on and off can change based on the elder's experience. The experiment they conducted was shock therapy in rat when exposed to smell of certain food. The rats are trained to fear that smell and, to their suprise, the offsprings were also startled by the smell even though they never received the shock therapy or been exposed to the food before.   The question here is: Can we monitor the changes in the genes in the offsprings which survived the "danger zone" and how does the environment impact those changes?