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Mind Over DNA, Think Beyond Your Genes

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“Genes are the blueprint for life.” This basic definition gives emphasis on how genes control all cellular activities. This also means that much of who we are and how we behave are determined by our DNA. However, this idea proves to be a misconception.

According to Dr Bruce H. Lipton, bestselling author of The Biology of Belief, this belief system makes an individual “more or less a victim of heredity.” Having this idea gives a person an excuse to be unaccountable for his or her actions because this concept “says you are less powerful than your genes.”


The cell, the basic structure of life, is under the same principles as our body. Even without a DNA, a cell can and will continue to function. In his book, Dr Lipton explains how perception (our thoughts and beliefs), not the so-called “blueprint for life,” is what motivates a person to act.

The Biology of Belief is summarized into five major points:

1.                  The cell, like the body, can function without DNA

A red blood cell does not have DNA, but how does it continue to function? The DNA does not direct the cell’s activities; it merely tells the cell what to do and when to do it. It is called the “blueprint for life” because it contains information or codes needed to make proteins. Even in the conversion of sugar into energy, DNA is not necessary – provided that the cell parts involved in the process are working properly.

2.                  DNA is controlled by the environment

A protein is a complex molecule vital for life functions. DNA is strongly linked with proteins- its actions and production.

In Dr Lipton’s model, environmental stimuli that come into contact with the cell membrane are perceived by receptor proteins in the membrane. This spurs chain reactions from one protein to another – motivating cell to activity. These environmental signals also act on the protective sleeve of protein that coats the DNA, causing the selection of specific genes needed to react to the current environment.

Basically, “Life is due to how the cell responds to the environment.”

3.                  Perception of the environment is not necessarily the reality of environment

In 1988, John Cairns published a study entitled The Origin of Mutants in the journal Nature. The research showed how DNA mutations were not random, but predetermined in a reaction to environmental stressors.

Dr Lipton explained that in “every one of your cells, you have genes whose function it is to rewrite and adapt genes as necessary,” It is also established that environmental signals were separate from the organism’s perception of these signals.

In fact, an individual’s perception of his or her environment serves as a filter between the reality of the environment and the biological response to it.

4.                  Human beliefs, choosing to perceive a positive or negative environment

Humans have five senses which help the person to determine which genes are to be activated for a given situation.

“The genes are like programs on a computer disk,” Lipton said. “These programs can be divided into two classes: the first relates to growth, or reproduction; the second relates to protection.”

When a cell encounters nutrients, the growth genes are activated and used. When a cell encounters toxins, the protection genes are activated and used.

When a human being encounters situations of love and security, the growth genes are activated. When a human being encounters situations of fear and threats, the protection genes are activated.

A being’s perception of reality is highly subjective and dependent on his or her beliefs.

5.                  ‘Fight or Flight’

When a person perceives a negative environment, the ‘fight-or-flight’ system is activated.

Under stress, he or she becomes less intelligent, less clear-minded. The part of the brain related to reflexes is given more prominence in fight or flight mode than the part related to memory and other mental functions.

When a person perceives a loving environment, the body activates growth genes and nurtures the body.


Dr Lipton gave the example of Eastern European orphanages, where children are given lots of nutrients, but little love. Children in such institutions have been found to have stunted development in terms of height, learning, and other areas. There is also a high incidence of autism. Lipton said autism in this case is a symptom of protection genes being activated, like walls being put up.

“Beliefs act as a filter between the real environment and your biology,” he said. Our perceptions have great power over our responses in a given situation. We are not victims of heredity. The power to choose what beliefs we select our genes with is in our hands.

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