Epigenetics Update / Supervolcano Alert
Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence (more at Wikipedia).
There is a lot of evidence that epigenetic modifications can last two generations. For example, if your mother was a Holocaust survivor, you could be more prone to post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as your children. Researchers have been trying to discover if such changes can last longer, and become a permanent genetic fixture. Evolution in other words.
This is of great interest to catastrophists – it could mean that global cataclysms were a major ingredient in human evolution. And could again…
DNA extracted from the bones of an extinct bison shows that the environment influenced the way the animal’s genes worked without altering the genetic code. It is the best evidence yet that such epigenetic changes can be fossilized.
…most of the methylations they found were in exactly the same spots as methylations in the same genes of modern cattle.
It’s the first evidence that the environment (in this case the Ice Age) has caused epigenetic modifications that have become evolution.
I don’t think scientists can ever be 100% sure about this, but new research suggests an impending supereruption can be detected decades in advance, giving us enough time to prepare. Reported at the BBC:
The evidence comes from analysis of crystals in pumice rock from the Santorini site, which the researchers in France, Switzerland and Singapore analysed using modern instrumentation including electron and ion microprobes.
“What we found was that all the crystals in the magma grew within a few decades of the eruption.”
“The new evidence from mineral grains appears to strengthen the idea, which has been developing in recent years, that large magma systems appear to awaken from long periods of repose only shortly (months, years or decades) prior to eruption.