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 March 30, 2015 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 March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
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