Genotypes and Phenotypes

An idea keeps bumping into the back of my head.  It’s like seeing the giant red pickup in my rearview mirror as it skidded side to side, tires smoking while the guy with the mohawk valiantly tried not to accordion me between it and the Chrysler sedan stopped in front of me.  I saw the truck coming, but it was out of my control, nothing I could do but brace brace brace.  I didn’t brace well enough, but in my defense I was in a Geo Metro at the time. I loved that car.  It wasn’t ever the same afterwards, what with becoming an accordion and all.  I’m sidetracking because this is a subject I have absolutely no frame of reference for, and the likelihood of being flat out wrong or worse – yes, there ARE such a thing as stupid questions – is at 99.968%.  I’ll give myself a 0.032% chance.  Plus I haven’t done a lot of reading, but the questions keep rearing their ugly heads in that rearview mirror…. okay enough.  Here goes.

The word genotype refers to our personal genomic sequences – what genes make up “us” or very specific genes that are part of that genetic makeup.

A phenotype refers to our actual characteristics, physical, psychological/behavioral, disease risks, etc. describes the difference – genotypes come from “nature” while phenotypes are from “nurture” or derive from the environment we live.

There is also the question of “heritable changes,” when phenotypes change but genotypes do not change.  Phenotypical changes alter the way cells read the genes.

I don’t know exactly what the consequences are when phenotypes undergo changes.  Yes, I need to read more.  However, since there is a pretty significant genetic connection between fibromyalgia and phenotypes, it seems like this is a possibility for a trigger.

Childhood trauma can physically change the physical pain processing pathways.  They don’t develop a chronic pain syndrome immediately.  It comes later, possibly because of an inherent genetic risk.  Do they grow into chronic pain or is there a triggering mechanism after that initial childhood trauma which initially sets up the possibility of developing a chronic pain syndrome?

Adults who have not suffered childhood trauma still develop fibromyalgia or other chronic pain syndromes.  Is it possible that there is a specific phenotype that undergoes a change – why? how? – which then changes the way cells read the genetic markers, and then the mitochondria convolutes and mast cells go awry and bam! chronic pain.  Heck if I know, but maybe this could pull together the two disparate groups – those with childhood trauma and those without.

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