From Lorena Infante Lara at The Smithsonian:
But we’re finding out that our DNA isn’t always set in stone. Now, a team of researchers from Northwestern University led by anthropology professor Thom McDade have shown that DNA can also be modified by your environment during childhood. What’s more, the authors conclude in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, those modifications can affect how or when you develop certain illnesses during adulthood.
Their investigation followed more than 500 children in the Philippines and found that certain childhood situations can create modifications in genes associated with inflammation, which affects how prone we are to suffer from certain illnesses. Specifically, these factors included socioeconomic status, the prolonged absence of a parent, the duration of breastfeeding, birth during the dry season, and exposure to microbes in infancy. More.
And if it is permanent, it may be passed on. The only reason anyone should find that hard to believe is too much Darwin in the schools. People think evolution is Darwinism and it is going to take some decades to clear out the rubbish.
The good news is that the ability to correctly identify specific effects of specific causes will make helping children at risk subject to evidence-based analysis. Much harm has been done in the past by activists who have never had to square what they were doing with science.
See also: Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!
Unravelling the recovered memories hysteria