Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Epigenetics mechanism may help explain effects of mom's nutrition on her children's health

Date:
March 11, 2013
Source:
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Summary:
Pioneering studies by a molecular geneticist are helping explain how the foods that soon-to-be-moms eat in the days and weeks around the time of conception -- or what's known as periconceptional nutrition –- may affect the way genes function in her children, and her children's health.

ARS-funded research has found that seasonal fluctuations in the foods Gambian women eat around the time of conception can affect the development of genes in their unborn children.
Credit: Felicia Webb

Pioneering studies by U. S. Department of Agriculture-funded research molecular geneticist Robert A. Waterland are helping explain how the foods that soon-to-be-moms eat in the days and weeks around the time of conception -- or what's known as periconceptional nutrition-may affect the way genes function in her children, and her children's health.

Related Articles


In an early study, Waterland and co-investigators examined gene function of 50 healthy children living in rural villages in the West African nation of The Gambia. The study has shaped some of Waterland's current research into the effects of nutrition on what geneticists refer to as epigenetic mechanisms. Those mechanisms can impact, for example, the levels at which an everyday biochemical process, DNA methylation, occurs at regions of certain genes. DNA methylation is essential for cell development and for stabilizing cell function.

In the West Africa study, Waterland and co-researchers found that levels of DNA methylation were higher at regions of five genes in children conceived during the peak rainy season months of August and September, when food would typically have been less available to their mothers.

According to Waterland, two of the five genes in which elevated DNA methylation occurred warrant further study because they are associated with risk of disease. Specifically, the SLITRK1 gene is associated with Tourette's syndrome, and the PAX8 gene is linked to hypothyroidism.

In a scientific article in PLoS Genetics, the researchers attributed the epigenetic variation to dramatic seasonal differences in the kinds and amounts of foods available in the three subsistence-farming villages that were the focus of the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert A. Waterland, Richard Kellermayer, Eleonora Laritsky, Pura Rayco-Solon, R. Alan Harris, Michael Travisano, Wenjuan Zhang, Maria S. Torskaya, Jiexin Zhang, Lanlan Shen, Mark J. Manary, Andrew M. Prentice. Season of Conception in Rural Gambia Affects DNA Methylation at Putative Human Metastable Epialleles. PLoS Genetics, 2010; 6 (12): e1001252 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1001252

Cite This Page:

United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. "Epigenetics mechanism may help explain effects of mom's nutrition on her children's health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311173754.htm>.
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. (2013, March 11). Epigenetics mechanism may help explain effects of mom's nutrition on her children's health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311173754.htm
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. "Epigenetics mechanism may help explain effects of mom's nutrition on her children's health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311173754.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins