Innogen · News · June 11, 2013

Are you what your parents ate?

Are you what your parents ate?

John Gillott participates in Battle of Ideas debate on epigenetics.

Last year, John Gillott participated in a Battle of Ideas debate on "Epigenetics: are you what your parents ate?" As the programme described: "Babies born into poverty are damaged forever before birth'; 'Mother's diet during pregnancy alters baby's DNA'; 'Pregnant 9/11 survivors transmitted trauma to their children.' These extraordinary headlines all have their basis in epigenetics, which, put crudely, explores how we can inherit acquired characteristics. For campaigners who have long argued early infant experience determines wellbeing in later life, this seems to be a vindication from science. Nevertheless, critics take issue with their sometimes moralistic conclusions. Does epigenetics finally break down the distinction between the natural and social sciences, or is it all the more important to disentangle the two?"

John was on hand to discuss popular views on epidemiological science and was joined on the panel by Professor Marcus Pembrey (Founder and Chair, Progress Educational Trust) and Professor Marilyn Monk (Emeritus Professor of Molecular Embryology, University College London).

This is a must watch Battle of Ideas debate, and the full video is now available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lieTVFyH96E

John Gillott