Homeopathic ‘Constitutions’ Explained In Terms Of ‘Genotype-Phenotype’ Interactions Studied By Modern Genetics

‘Constitutions’, ‘constitutional symptoms’ and ‘consitutional drugs’ are concepts which play a very important role in homeopathic theory and practice. Concepts such as ‘genetic constitution’ and ‘miasmatic constitution’ are frequently heard in homeopathic discussions. There have been a lot of attempts to explain constitution in terms of ‘miasms’, genetics, embryology and many other concepts.

I am trying to evolve a scientifically viable understanding of our concept of ‘constitution’. I think it would be more logical and scientific if we understand ‘constitution’ in terms of ‘phenotypes’ of individuals. To understand and explain ‘constitutions’ in scientific terms, we have to understand the concepts of ‘genotypes’ and ‘phenotypes’ in modern genetics.

According to modern genetics, the ‘genotype’ is the ‘genetic substance or ‘DNA’ inherited by the organism from its previous generation. It is called the ‘genetic blue print’.

The ‘genotype’ contained the organism gives rise to individual ‘phenotypes through ‘gene expressions’. The ‘genetic code’ stored in DNA is interpreted by ‘gene expression’, and the properties of these expressions five rise to the ‘phenotype’ of the organism.

A ‘phenotype’ is the observable characteristics or traits of an organism, such as morphology, development, biological and physiological properties, behavior, and products of behavior.  ‘Phenotype’ is the result of ‘gene expressions’, which is decided by the interaction between genetic blue print and environmental factors.

‘Genotype’ of an organism is the inherited instructions it carries within its genetic code. Organisms with same ‘genotype’ do not appear or act the same way, because its ‘phenotype’ is decided by the interaction with  environmental and developmental conditions. Similarly, not all organisms that look alike necessarily have the same genotype.

This understanding of ‘genotype-phenotype distinction’, proposed by Wilhelm Johannsen in 1911 to make clear the difference between an organism’s heredity and what that heredity produces,  is very important in providing a scientific explanation for the homeopathic concept of ‘constitutions’.

Despite its seemingly straightforward definition, the concept of the phenotype has some hidden subtleties. Some would argue that anything dependent on the genotype is a phenotype, including molecules such as RNA and proteins. Most of the molecules and structures coded by the genetic material are not visible in the appearance of an organism, yet they are observable and are thus part of the phenotype. Human blood groups are an example. Others would say that this goes beyond the original intentions of the concept with its focus on the (living) organism in itself, meaning that the lowest level of biological organization compatible with the phenotype concept is at the cellular level. Either way, the term phenotype includes traits or characteristics that can be made visible by some technical procedure. Another extension adds behavior to the phenotype since behaviors are also observable characteristics. Indeed there is research into the clinical relevance of behavioral phenotypes as they pertain to a range of syndromes.

Phenotypic variation (due to underlying heritable genetic variation) is a fundamental prerequisite for evolution by natural selection. It is the living organism as a whole that contributes (or not) to the next generation, so natural selection affects the genetic structure of a population indirectly via the contribution of phenotypes. Without phenotypic variation, there would be no evolution by natural selection.

The relationship between ‘genotype’ and ‘phenotype’ has often been conceptualized by the following relationship: “genotype (G) + environment (E) + genotype & environment interactions (GE) → phenotype (P)”

‘Genotypes’ often have much flexibility in the modification and expression of phenotypes; in many organisms these phenotypes are very different under varying environmental conditions. The concept of phenotype can be extended to variations below the level of the gene that affect an organism’s fitness. For example, silent mutations that do not change the corresponding amino acid sequence of a gene may change the frequency of guanine-cytosine base pairs (GC content). These base pairs have a higher thermal stability than adenine-thymine, a property that might convey, among organisms living in high-temperature environments, a selective advantage on variants enriched in GC content.

A phenotype is the ensemble of observable characteristics displayed by an organism. The idea of the phenotype expresses all the effects a gene has on the outside world that may influence its chances of being replicated. These can be effects on the organism in which the gene resides, the environment, or other organisms.

Gene expression is the process by which information from a gene is used in the synthesis of a functional gene product. These products are often proteins, but in non-protein coding genes such as ribosomal RNA (rRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA) or Small nuclear RNA (snRNA) genes, the product is a functional RNA. The process of gene expression is used by all known life to generate the macromolecular machinery for life.

Several steps in the gene expression process may be modulated, including the transcription, RNA splicing, translation, and post-translational modification of a protein. Gene regulation gives the cell control over structure and function, and is the basis for cellular differentiation, morphogenesis and the versatility and adaptability of any organism. Gene regulation may also serve as a substrate for evolutionary change, since control of the timing, location, and amount of gene expression can have a profound effect on the functions (actions) of the gene in a cell or in a multicellular organism.

Factors, such as such as miasmatic, environmental, nutritional, occupational, infectious, emotional, ontogenic, metabolic and xenobiotic influence the process of ‘gene regulation’ at various stages of ‘gene expression’, through which the particular ‘phenotype’ or ‘constitution’ of the individual organism is determined. As such, ‘constitution’ of an individual is the ‘phenotype’ determined by the ‘protein constitution’ developing through ‘genetic expression’’. Constitution’ is expressed in the form of totality of general physical symptoms, morphology, mental symptoms and behavioral peculiarities.

Constitution of a person is decided by the ‘genotype-phenotype’ interactions taking place. Genotype is the ‘genetic substance’ obtained from parents. Phenotype is produced by the ‘expression’ of these genotype. Many factors influence the ‘genetic expression’. They include nutritional factors, environmental factors, infectious fatcors, miasmatic factors or antibodies, metabolic factors, emotional factors, drug factors and many such things. What we call ‘constitution’ is actually the ‘phenotype’ produced by the expression of genotype, influenced by all these diverse factors. Symptoms representing this phenotype is what we call ‘constitutional symptoms’. Drugs selected as similimum on the basis of ‘constitutional symptoms’ can modify the ‘phenotype’ of the individual, but it cannot modify genotype. While talking about ‘consitutional similimum’, we should be aware of these scientific facts.

‎’Genetic expression’ is the chains of biochemical processes by which diverse types of protein molecules are manufactured utilizing the genetic blue print inherited from previous generation. As such, the ‘phenotype’ or ‘constitution’ of an individual is actually the ‘protein constitution’ evolving through genetic expression. What we call ‘constitutional symptoms’ are exactly those symptoms that represent this overall ‘protein chemistry’. Phenotype or protein constitution can be influenced by potentized drugs selected on the basis of ‘constitutional symptoms’, but ‘genotype’ cannot be changed by that. While considering the concept of ‘constitutional treatment’, we should be aware of these scientific facts.

Author: Chandran Nambiar K C

I started practicing homeopathy in 1970, when I was 20 years old and studying for final year of BSc (Zoology) course. My interest in homeopathy happened very accidentally, through a constant relationship with a local practitioner who happened to be father of my classmate. I was a regular visitor in his clinic, where from I started reading BOERICKE MATERIA MEDICA and other homeopathic books, which helped me to cure myself my troublesome asthma that have been haunting me since my childhood days. I became a voracious reader of homeopathy. I was also deeply involved in studying marxism and dialectical materialism during my college days, which attracted me to political activities. MARXISM and HOMEOPATHY became two essential parts of my intellectual and practical life, which still continues so. Even though I joined DHMS course in a karnataka homeopathic college, I could not continue it due to my intense involvement in revolutionary political activities that resulted in jail life and a lot of criminal cases. Once that phase was over, I took a diploma in veterinary science and became a livestock inspector in animal husbandry department under govt of kerala. I have been continuing my study and practice of homeopathy all through these years. Since CCH act came into force only in 1976, and it contained provisions allowing existing practitioners to continue, my homeopathic practice went smoothly in parallel with my government job. In 1987, co-operating with some local homeopaths and social activists, I started Kannur District Homeopathic Hospital Sociey, which established a chain of hospitals and homeopathic clinics in different parts of Kannur district. After a few years I had to leave the society for some political reasons, and I established a 100 bedded well equipped homeopathic hospital in Taliparamba, employing a number of prominent homeopaths. That was ended up as a financial disaster for me due to many reasons, including my lack of skills as a money manager, and I was compelled to close down my dream project with in a short period. I lost huge money I invested, lost my reputation, and it pulled me into a debt trap. I learned a lot of valuabl lessons from this failure- about life, human psychology, relationships, and above all, about myself. I realized failure is the greatest teacher, if you are prepared learn from it. I learned how will power and determination to win will help us come back into life as a phoenix from our own ashes. I learned, one does not fail unless he stops fighting and accepts failure. My failure and the hardships that followed has moulded my personality in such a way that I can now withstand any disaster and fight back. I tell you, you will not know what life really is, unless you miserably fail at least once in your life. By this time, I left my government job also, and settled as a full time homeopathic practitioner. By this practice, I could repair my earlier financial losses, and establish well in life. It was during this period that I felt the need of developing a simple and user-friendly homeopathic software, that resulted in the evolution of SIMILIMUM, which was later upgraded into SIMILIMUM ULTRA. Similimum Ultra was well accepted by the profession, and it collected good revenues which continues even today. I stopped my practice a few years back , and concentrated in the study and research activities to evolve scientifically viable explanations to the so-called riddles of homeopathy. This unrelenting study resulted in MIT or Molecular Imprints Therapeutics, which provides a scientific and rational explanation for homeopathy. I started a homeopathic discussion group on facebook called HOMEOPATHY FOR TOTAL CURE, which has more than 35000 homeopaths as members. By this work on facebook, I could establish close relationship with many homeopaths around the world. It goes on. I could successfully convert facebook as my office and work place, from where I propagate my MIT ideas, co-ordinate my works for homeopathic community, and sell my Similimum Ultra Software. My years of hardwork in search of HOW HOMEOPATHY WORKS ultimately resulted in the publication of a book titled REDEFINING HOMEOPATHY (3000 pages, 3 volumes, hard bound, Rs 6000), in which I have compiled my articles regarding my scientific explanations of basic principles of homeopathy. These ideas are called MIT or MOLECULAR IMPRINTS THERAPEUTICS. MIT is now included in the syllabus of MD (HOM) course of prestigious DY PATIL DEEMED UNIVERSITY, PUNE, INDIA. Research department of SARADA KRISHNA HOMEOPATHIC COLLEGE, Kulashekharam, Tamilnadu, India, the only NAC accredited homeopathy college in India, has recently taken up certain reserch projects for proving the scientific explanations proposed by MIT. Based on MIT perspective of homeopathy, I had developed an MIT PROTOCOL for scientific homeopathy, and initiated a project for establishing a chain of MIT NETWORK CLINICS all over India, where MIT PROTOCOL will be practiced. More over, I have developed a whole range of 351 MIT FORMULATIONS, which are disease-specific combinations of post-avogadro diluted homeopathy drugs. NOW I AM IN 71st YEAR OF MY LIFE, AND STILL LOOKING FOR NEW HORRIZONS!

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