When we are born, the deoxyribonucleic acid/DNA in our bodies contains the blueprints for who we are and instructions for who we will become. For example, it can tell our eyes to eventually turn from blue at birth to hazel later on, our length to grow from 20 inches to 70 and direct a multitude of other changes over the course of our lives.
Many people have mistakenly believed that the DNA with which we are born is the sole determinant for who we are and will become, but scientists have understood for decades that this genetic determinism is a flawed theory.
Epigenetics and Beyond
The field of epigenetics refers to the science that studies how the development, functioning and evolution of biological systems are influenced by forces operating outside the DNA sequence, including intracellular, environmental and energetic influences.
Since the 1950s scientists have accepted that epigenetic influence is critical in our development. Epi – Greek for “besides” – combines with the word, genetics, to essentially mean “something more than genetics.” That “something more” is widely held today to refer to our environment – thus meaning that our genetic code and the environment in which we develop determine who and what we are.