Neighborhood Could Alter A Child’s Gene Expression

by Paromita Datta published on -

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Your neighborhood could alter your genetic expression! A long-term study in the UK, published in the Jama Network Open found that children who grew up in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods showed differences in their gene regulations in their youth. These results show that children’s neighborhoods can influence their growth in ways that we had not previously foreseen. Their environment could impact their adult health.

Group of teenagers having fun

Their environment could influence their adult health at a deep level. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The cohort study involved 1619 children from England and Wales. The researchers used the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study. It is a cohort study that tracks children born between 1994 and 1995. Follow-ups are carried from age 5 to 18 years. The information included DNA methylation data. The participants were picked from different socioeconomic conditions in the UK.

The research team found that children who grew up in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods showed a differential DNA methylation. The altered genes were associated with exposure to tobacco smoke, air pollution, chronic inflammation, and lung cancer. While the underlying genetic structure may not change, the findings indicated that epigenetics or genetic expressions could change. These results also show how such children were epigenetically distinct from peers that grew up in a more privileged environment.

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About the Author

Paromita Datta covers the latest health and wellness trends for Organic Facts. An ex-journalist who specialized in health and entertainment news, Paromita was responsible for managing a health supplement for The New Indian Express, a leading national daily in India. She has completed her post-graduation in Business Administration from the University of Rajasthan and her diploma in journalism from YMCA, Delhi. She has completed an e-course, Introduction to Food and Health, from Stanford University, US.

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