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 27, 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 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. 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