Clash between Our Genes and Modern Life is making us Sick

The Genome and its Imbalance

Unexpectedly, humans have a hereditary predisposition. As a result of those vulnerabilities, a big proportion of us will die from intricate and complex diseases; the world we currently live in puts us at a high danger from them. Greg Gibson develops a modern, progressive premise in It Takes A Genome: Our genome is out of balance with both its surroundings and itself, which suggests that our genes are not getting along very well with contemporary civilisation. Our body weren’t designed to withstand fatty, sugary foods; our body’s defense systems were not prepared for today’s clean and unstimulating environments, our intellects were not created to deal with electronic inputs all day giving a reason why most of us suffer from persistent diseases which our forefathers did not experience.

Genetic Mismatches and Human Diseases

Gibson starts off by showing the remarkably various means by which multiple genomes co-ordinate and collaborates in shaping our bodies and impacting on our behaviours. He further explains the genetic “mismatches” that gradually lead to diabetes, cancer, inflammatory diseases, AIDS, depression, and senility. He sums up with a look at the likelihood of genetic variation in human psychology, giving proof that traits like contemplation and socialness are routed in equally complex genetic interactions. It Takes A Genome devastates the debates over “nature versus nurture” coming up with a new perception that is more convincing and far closer to reality.

Genetic Factors in Complex Diseases

Moreover, complex diseases such as cardiovascular and neurological diseases, cancer and diabetes are thought to include genetic factors in addition to environmental ones. Although Genome-Wide Association (GWA) the significant variants associated with these complex diseases, the genetic risk given by these researchers are modest with only a small percentage covering for heritability. This “missing heritability” has been linked to hereditary interactions, rare variants of large effect size and repetitive structural and sequential options which are unapproachable to large-scale genotyping.

Ancient Societies and Health

Furthermore, studies carried over the past thirty years on skeletal remains, past mummified bodies and literature from ancient societies gave a striking discovery; in all studies carried on ten thousand individuals, hardly any chances of complex diseases were found and were associated to the pollution of our deities. Nowadays we take processed foods, heavily salted meals as well as fatty takeaways and sugary foods which were not accepted by ancient people. Even in Pima India, for which it has been argued that genetic factors are critical for high incidence diabetes mellitus type 2, maintenance of high expenditure and more vital nutrition in those villages that maintain a traditional subsistence lifestyle is associated with lower incidences of diabetes (Claudia et al.). Also, the kind of lifestyle we live today, sited in our sofas at home and desks at our places of work, exposure to pollution, overcrowding, and stress put at risk to health problems (Boaz).

Cryptic Genetic Variation and Disease Susceptibility

Also, the Gibson’s hypothesis that cryptic genetic variation contributes to disease susceptibility is advocated by the characteristics of disease risk variants and their distribution among the human population. A significant number of the Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs) linked to diseases risk are hereditary, suggesting that the protective variant has come higher in the human lineage. Therefore, disease vulnerability cannot be easily expounded by acquiring the deleterious mutation in the human family. Moreover, disease risk alleles vary hysterically in prevalence and their consequences to the human population, indicating complicated population structure and the significance of environmental factors in advancing diseases. He suggests further that these environmental factors may alter the genetic contribution to phenotype by showing cryptic genetic variation especially among people with reduced phenotypic robustness.

Mitochondrial DNA Mutation and Dementia

Consequently, Mitochondrial DNA mutation due to genetic variants also poses a risk to the development of dementia and associated neurological changes. Studies carried out identified both highly conserved and potentially functional mutations unequalled in dementia cases. Cognitive decline and dementia have come out as one of the most significant threats to the modern generation. It is associated with high oxidative stress level, protein turn over and mitochondrial dysfunctional which is more prevalent in the contemporary world that it was there before (Delgado-Morales and Esteller).

Genetic Disorders and Drug Overuse

Another reason that is making us sick is the overuse of drugs which is a significant cause of genetic disorders. We prefer medication to prevention; we usually take unprescribed pills. Painkillers, eye drops, and antibiotics if used excessively cause genetic diseases. Also, alcohol consumption, smoking and drug abuse threaten our physical and mental health. Health problems like hypertension, joint and skeletal problems, violence, and other disabilities are linked to misuse of drugs. Our forefathers never had these issues because they used natural ways of treatment and did not abuse drugs. The challenge for medicine is similar to that faced in Agriculture, where insecticides lead to insecticide resistance and herbicides lead to herbicide resistance. Evolution theory has proven useful for suggesting approaches for more efficiently deploying our antibiotic sources in ways that minimize resistance (Lipsitch et al.).

Health Issues Caused by Electronic Devices

Digital devices if overused also pose health problems; using these tools up to midnight affects the pattern of sleep; sleep disorders have psychological, economic, social and health issues. Addictions to our mobile phones result in depression symptoms. These electronic devices also cause vision problems, headaches, back problems especially sitting for a long time operating computers and fatigue. If we add to that the complexity of modern society and its structures compared to those of the Paleolithic or even the contemporary hunter-gatherer social organizations, it is reasonable to speculate that some forms of illness directly reflect individuals living in a social environment beyond their evolved capacity to cope (Grossman).

Modern Lifestyle and Metabolic Syndrome

From research, a third of all Westerners have obesity, Type 2 diabetes or other metallic syndromes which result from the sweet and fatty foods we take that lead to weight gain. The prevalence of these diseases is expected to rise with the increase in global obesity crisis; we should manage our weight to reduce vulnerability to these conditions. Lack of physical exercise which is common in our modern lifestyle also contributes to contracting metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome will continue to rise in future given the recurring rising trends in obesity mostly in young people (Bodeker and Kronenberg).


In conclusion, I would like to say our modern lifestyle contributes majorly to the disease we have. The kinds of food we take, lack of physical exercises, over the use of electronic devices, stress, overcrowding, and environmental pollution are all harmful to our health. We ought to embrace back the lifestyle our ancestors had because that is the lifestyle our bodies were designed to live and cope. We should avoid excessive use of drugs for a healthy and diseases free lifestyle.

Work Cited

Bodeker, Gerard, and Fredi Kronenberg. “Tackling obesity: challenges ahead.” The Lancet 386.9995 (2015): 740-741.

Boaz, N. T. (2002). Evolving health: the origins of illness and how the modern world is making us sick. John Wiley & Sons.

Delgado-Morales, R., and M. Esteller. “Opening up the DNA methylome of dementia.” Molecular psychiatry 22.4 (2017): 485-496.

Gibson, Greg. It takes a genome: how a clash between our genes and modern life is making us sick. FT Press, 2008.

Grossman, Elizabeth. High tech trash: Digital devices, hidden toxics, and human health. Island Press, 2007.

Langenberg, Claudia, et al. “Gene-lifestyle interaction and type 2 diabetes: the EPIC interact case-cohort study.” PLoS medicine 11.5 (2014): e1001647.

Lipsitch, Marc, Carl T. Bergstrom, and Bruce R. Levin. “The epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in hospitals: paradoxes and prescriptions.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97.4 (2000): 1938-1943.

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