Taken at the Georgia Institute of Technology C...

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The combination of genetics and epigenetics is a powerful evolutionary force. Genetics alone couldn’t have done it. It is too slow to react to natural disasters and changes in the environment. No species would have survived a drastic change like the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs. Obviously all life was not wiped out. Mammals began to take a dominant role and humans evolved. Our epigenetics helped to find a combination that allowed us and many other plants and animals to survive and eventually thrive. If I were designing a robot to live on another planet and I had no idea of what conditions would be present, I would need a system that could build up from small pieces (nano-bots) to a sophisticated creation that could adapt in the environment present. Sending a fully built robot wouldn’t work since it could be instantly destroyed by the environment. Sending many different robots would take up space and fuel on a spaceship. The combination wouldn’t be great enough to predict what would work. But sending nano-bots is easy. Millions even billions could be easily sent. They could sense the environment and make changes to their logic. They could then come together and create an organism that might be able to survive. This is exactly what our cells are doing with the help of epigenetics.