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The Dramatic Effects of Epigenetics

Dr. Landecker gives compelling evidence for the effects of nutritional epigenetics on further bodily processes. Nutritional epigenetics looks at the effects of nutrition and different types of food on the regulation of gene expression. Landecker states that, “food type and availability during so-called “critical periods” of development affect patterns of gene expression and thus the physiology and disease susceptibility of an organism for the rest of its life, and perhaps the life of future generations.” It is fascinating that the foods we eat during early development can have such profound impacts on our bodies later in life, especially on the genetic level. I’m sure these findings will provide valuable insight as we look at disadvantaged populations who might not have access to the nutrition necessary for proper regulation of gene expression.

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(Source: NIH)

Reading about epigenetics caused me to research more about its effects in relation to trauma. I found a life science article titled, “Trauma inherited via epigenetics,” which looks at the process of emotional stress in mice being passed on to offspring. In the study, male mice were subjected to traumatic events, including maternal separation or maternal stress during the first two weeks of life. These stressed male mice then mated with normal female mice and the offspring were studied. Experiments demonstrated that 2nd and 3rd generation mice exhibited similar depressed or impulsive behavioral patterns, pointing to the role of epigenetics in the transmission of traumatic behavior. This research also provides positive insight on the negative effects that stress can have on offspring (as health disparities and discrimination often lead to elevated levels of stress or trauma).

Source:

Elghanayan, Ariel. “Trauma Inherited via Epigenetics.” BioTechniques – The International Journal of Life Science Methods. BioTechniques, 11 Oct. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. <http://www.biotechniques.com/news/Trauma-inherited-via-epigenetics/biotechniques-304127.html&gt;.

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