The Real Science Behind
The Odd Shelf
Western science and exploration technologies directed by Inuit observation and oral history led to the discovery of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror over 160 years after the disastrous events leading to the end of the Franklin expedition. While the recovery of the wreckage will certainly help to piece together the history of the expedition, the process of discovering that wreckage – combining two knowledge systems, Western Science and Inuit Knowledge (Qaujimajatuqangit) – offers a compelling example of integrated research.
The hunt for HMS Erebus and HMS Terror was tough enough.
Now Parks Canada underwater archeologists are sorting out just how they will try to unlock the clues to the Franklin Expedition mystery that may be hidden in the wrecks of the reinforced British warships that lie in the icy waters of Nunavut.
We are more than the sum of our genes. Epigenetic mechanisms modulated by environmental cues such as diet, disease or our lifestyle take a major role in regulating the DNA by switching genes on and off. It has been long debated if epigenetic modifications accumulated throughout the entire life can cross the border of generations and be inherited to children or even grand children. Now researchers show robust evidence that not only the inherited DNA itself but also the inherited epigenetic instructions contribute in regulating gene expression in the offspring.
The long-lost ship of British polar explorer Sir John Franklin, HMS Terror, has been found in pristine condition at the bottom of an Arctic bay, researchers have said, in a discovery that challenges the accepted history behind one of polar exploration’s deepest mysteries.
Their latest results reveal that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust have different stress hormone profiles than their peers, perhaps predisposing them to anxiety disorders. This finding echoes the results of many other human epigenetic studies that show that the effects of certain experiences during childhood and adolescence are especially enduring in individuals and sometimes even across generations.
One of the most famous ships lost in the 19th century has been located in the Arctic, the Canadian government announced Tuesday, prompting Prime Minister Stephen Harper to declare that "one of Canada's greatest mysteries" has been solved.
When it comes to inheritance, you’re getting more than just DNA. Life experiences – famine, stress, fear and even drug use – can all leave chemical marks on a person’s genetic material. This is often referred to as epigenetic (“above genetics”) modifications. Although these chemical add-ons don’t directly change the genetic code, they do alter the way genes are expressed and thus help drive long-lasting changes in brain function and behaviour.
Incredibly, these changes can be handed down through generations.
Margaret Riley is a wordsmith, slow-kayaker, slow-skiier, photographer of strange realities, and a deep believer in the magic of story time.