Genome-wide expression changes in a higher state of consciousness.
Wow...I didn't think I'd find research like this already. This research group rounded up a small number of "experienced meditators" (again, its difficult to assess what this really means without a solid descriptor used by all, but the researchers did their best) and used a micro-array to determine what genes are upregulated and downregulated during higher states of consciousness. Some similarities and differences were found, as expected.
What does it mean? Who knows. Its really hard (for me) to interpret micro-array data. They had more similarities in under-expressed genes than over-expressed genes. Generally they noticed a down regulation of "metabolic and cell cycle processes, signaling, protein transport, regulation of gene expression, DNA repair, epigenetic mechanisms.".
While not being grilled for this during my dissertation, I'd say that this is what we might expect right? Everything seems to be slowing down when we meditate for long periods - our thoughts, our breathing, ability to regulate temperature.
Very cool if this type of research begins to take hold. This is a very small study - but at least someone did it (AND GOT FUNDING!?)