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Epigenetics: How famine leaves its mark on genes

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epigenomics/National Human GenomeResearch Institute

Not your high school science teacher’s evolution. From Genome Web:

A Dutch-led team of researchers examined blood samples obtained from individuals whose mothers were pregnant with them during the Dutch Hunger Winter of 1944 to 1945, toward the end of World War II, and from their siblings who were born either before the six-month famine or after, as they report in Science Advances. This cohort of individuals whose mothers were pregnant during the famine has been shown to have higher rates of obesity, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and schizophrenia, the researchers note. More.

Carl Zimmer reports at New York Times:

“How on earth can your body remember the environment it was exposed to in the womb — and remember that decades later?” wondered Bas Heijmans, a geneticist at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

r. Heijmans, Dr. Lumey and their colleagues published a possible answer, or part of one, on Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. Their study suggests that the Dutch Hunger Winter silenced certain genes in unborn children — and that they’ve stayed quiet ever since.

A Swedish study found the same thing. Acquired characteristics can be inherited too. That’s evolution; it’s just not Darwinism.

See also: Identical twins show epigenetic similarity as well. Then what about the famous “twin studies”?


Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!

The Genome Web brief has links to the New York Times and Science Advances articles on how mothers who were pregnant during the Dutch famine in 1944-45 left epigenetic imprints on their unborn child. These same imprints were not seen in the siblings born before or after the famine.

Hat tip: Heather Zeiger

Not your high school science teacher’s evolution.
Actually it has been taught at the high school level for quite a while now. http://teach.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/education/activities/3411_02_nsn.html goodusername
There is a similar study that was conducted on children conceived during the Quebec/Ontario ice storm several years ago. Molson Bleu

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