Your Living Conditions as a Child May Be Detectable In Your DNA for Life
Findings published today in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggest that socio-economic status and living standards early in life may actually cause changes to your DNA that you carry with you for life, regardless of how your living conditions change along the way.
Some adult diseases—type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, etc.—have been linked to socio-economic disadvantages in early life. But we don’t really know why or how. Researchers in Canada and the UK may have just found the key.
Their sample size is admittedly small, but what they found was significant. In 40 research patients in the UK that are participating in an ongoing study that has documented many aspects of their lives, researchers looked at differences in gene methylation. Methylation is an epigenetic modification to one’s DNA that changes a gene’s activity, generally reducing that activity within the genome.
Various factors can influence methylation, including environmental conditions.