Scientists have long known that infants born to women who are obese show higher risks of obesity, but they don’t fully understand what boosts those risks. Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center now have demonstrated that umbilical cells from children of obese or overweight mothers show impaired expression of key genes regulating cell energy and metabolism, compared to similar cells from babies of non-obese mothers.
Isganaitis adds that mothers and healthcare providers also could carefully monitor the growth patterns and nutrition of children at risk of obesity, both in the first two years of life and afterwards. “Your risk of chronic diseases isn’t set in stone at birth; there are many different periods in which your lifelong disease risk can be modulated,” she emphasizes. Paper. (paywall) – S M R Costa, E Isganaitis, T J Matthews, K Hughes, G Daher, J M Dreyfuss, G A P da Silva, M-E Patti. Maternal obesity programs mitochondrial and lipid metabolism gene expression in infant umbilical vein endothelial cells. International Journal of Obesity, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2016.142More.
That’s the hope of epigenetics. It’s not “set in stone.”
See also: Epigenetics part of new normal in plant studies
Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!
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