Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genes increase the stress of social disadvantage for some children

Date:
April 7, 2014
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Genes amplify the stress of harsh environments for some children, and magnify the advantage of supportive environments for other children, according to a study that's one of the first to document how genes interacting with social environments affect biomarkers of stress. The study used telomere length as a marker of stress. Found at the ends of chromosomes, telomeres generally shorten with age, and when individuals are exposed to disease and chronic stress, including the stress of living in a disadvantaged environment.

Genes amplify the stress of harsh environments for some children.
Credit: TheFinalMiracle / Fotolia

Genes amplify the stress of harsh environments for some children, and magnify the advantage of supportive environments for other children, according to a study that's one of the first to document how genes interacting with social environments affect biomarkers of stress.

Related Articles


"Our findings suggest that an individual's genetic architecture moderates the magnitude of the response to external stimuli -- but it is the environment that determines the direction" says Colter Mitchell, lead author of the paper and a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR).

The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses telomere length as a marker of stress. Found at the ends of chromosomes, telomeres generally shorten with age, and when individuals are exposed to disease and chronic stress, including the stress of living in a disadvantaged environment.

For the study, Mitchell and colleagues used telomere samples from a group of 40 nine-year-old boys from two very different environments - one nurturing and the other harsh. Those in the nurturing environment came from stable families, with nurturing parenting, good maternal mental health, and positive socioeconomic conditions, while those in the harsh environment experienced high levels of poverty, harsh parenting, poor maternal mental health, and high family instability.

For those children with heightened sensitivity in the serotonergic and dopaminergic genetic pathways compared to other children, telomere length was shortest in a disadvantaged environment, and longest in a supportive environment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Colter Mitchell, John Hobcraft, Sara S. McLanahan, Susan Rutherford Siegel, Arthur Berg, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Irwin Garfinkel, and Daniel Notterman. Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children’s telomere length. PNAS, April 7, 2014 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1404293111

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Genes increase the stress of social disadvantage for some children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407153919.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2014, April 7). Genes increase the stress of social disadvantage for some children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407153919.htm
University of Michigan. "Genes increase the stress of social disadvantage for some children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407153919.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) At least 1 in 5,000 U.S. babies are born each year with intersex conditions _ ambiguous genitals because of genetic glitches or hormone problems. Secrecy and surgery are common. But some doctors and activists are trying to change things. (April 17) 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