The proteins surrounding the DNA regulate our genes' expression. And they do so in response to the environment of our cells. When we provide a healthy environment, by eating fresh whole foods, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and thinking happy thoughts, the body responds, our health improves, as does the health of our children. The opposite is true. Stress out, fill yourself with toxins, and spend your day on your backside with excessive exposure to the electromagnetic radiation emanating from your cellular phone, and your derrier in addition possibly to tumorous growths, is likely to expand. Your baby's booty too.
Even Charles Darwin, who fathered the Central Dogma by according almost exclusive control of our evolution to our genes, lamented in his later years that he had neglected the direct action of the environment - food, climate, and other factors - that work independently of natural selection. And this makes intuitive sense. As Bruce Lipton notes in his book The Biology of Belief, "genes cannot preprogram a cell or organism's life because survival depends on the ability to dynamically adjust to an ever-changing environment."
While it is true that some diseases like cystic fibrosis and certain neurological disorders can be blamed entirely on one faulty gene, these single-gene diseases affect less than 2 percent of the population. Today's scourges - diabetes, cancer, heart disease - are not the result of a single gene but of the interaction between several genes and environmental factors. And only about 5 percent of cancer and cardiovascular patients can attribute their diseases to heredity. There has been much talk about the BRCA mutations and breast cancer, but it must be stressed that ninety-five percent of breast cancers are NOT due to inherited genes, and of those with the BRCA mutation, only about half actually get cancer.
Humans and rodents have about the same number of genes, and we are certainly more complex than rats. So what accounts for the greater complexity? The extra proteins that govern the expression of our DNA. Humans can survive with far fewer genes than scientists once believed because the same gene products, which are proteins, can be used for a variety of functions, similar to the same letters of the alphabet making many different words. Like Meal and Lame. Personally I prefer the former. Five of them a day, mostly fruits and vegetables. Anything less and I feel lame, meaning I haven't the energy to run.
Which is why the Central Dogma has been revised to include Environment and Regulatory Proteins at the top before DNA and RNA and Protein, and the influence is not one way but a reciprocal interaction at every level.
Take home message: you are what you think, so think happy thoughts. That is, if you choose to think at all. I prefer to make like a tree and BE.