Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Pathology,
Faculty of Medicine, & Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Status of the body at different levels of meditation can be monitored by differential gene expression in the peripheral blood. Expression of genes is a complexly regulated sensitive process. In our study we have shown that higher states of consciousness, which we for the first time monitored by a combination of phenomenological report, EEG, and analysis of gene expression were associated with a statistically significant differential expression of several hundred to thousand genes that are involved in the regulation of biological and cellular metabolic processes, signaling, protein transduction, immune response, oxygen transport, cell death, epigenetic processes, response to stress. There was also a potential involvement in the process of plasticity of the nervous system in relation to the higher state of consciousness (Ravnik-Glavac et al. 2012, Consciousness and Cognition).
Others and we have also recently found out that during meditation changes in expression of proteins and enzymes as well as non-coding regulatory RNA occurred that are involved in altered epigenetic characteristics of the genome (Kaliman et al. 2014, Psychoneuroendocrinology, Ravnik-Glavac, article in preparation). In the case that these epigenetic marks become long-lasting or permanent they possess the potential to be transmitted to next generation.