“There’s not a shred of evidence that humans can change their genes in a permanent way via changes in our lifestyle,” writes Jerry Coyne, from the University of Chicago’s Department of Ecology & Evolution

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The woo: Chopra and Tanzi have long intimated that modification of behavior can modify one’s DNA by changing your genes epigenetically… and that that this epigenetic modification can be passed on to one’s offspring, modifying human evolution. Tanzi admitted a while back that there wasn’t any evidence for this in humans, though there are a few experiments in other species showing that environmental modification can modify the DNA (adding methyl groups to some DNA bases), and that those changes can be passed on. But that modifications never lasts for more than two or three generations before it disappears, meaning that it’s impotent to affect evolution. (Evolution depends on modifications of DNA—”mutations”—that is permanent.

Despite the loud proclamations of epigenetics mavens that environmental modification drastically modifies or even overturns the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, then, that is a claim without evidence. When you hear the word “epigenetics” used as a buzzword in articles on either evolution or self-help, be extremely skeptical!

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