In an age of advancing genetic science, the age-old debate over the primacy of nature versus that of nurture is often thought to have been largely settled. Stories in the media often depict our genes as determining the physical and even mental characteristics we possess. But the study of epigenetic phenomena complicates this picture. Epigenetics studies ‘switches’ that turn genes on or off –

epigenetic mechanisms
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and suggests that environmental factors like nutrition and stress can control these switches and, some suggest, even cause heritable effects in humans that can be passed on between generations.

In this Café on Tuesday 15 February, Dr Anthony Isles (Medicine, Cardiff University) and Dr Michael Arribas-Ayllon (CeSAGEN, Cardiff University) will explore how epigenetic mechanisms operate, and what ethical and political implications may follow from the discoveries now issuing from this field, concerning issues such as intergenerational equity and social justice.

As usual, things get started in the Cafe Bar at The Gate, at 7.30pm.

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