Although we do not yet fully understand the role of epigenetics in our future, more and more research is underway, which reflects that epigenetics can be used to better understand diseases, weight problems, allergic reactions, etc. In some cases, these problems can be prevented.
From poverty to allergic reactions in children, and even gender transitions, various studies on epigenetics have been very interesting in the past few months. Here are some of the most striking.
Rich and poor epigenetics may mean poor health
Poverty is a growing problem all over the world. One of the main reasons is the inability to afford a nutritious diet or proper health care. However, in a recent study by Northwestern University, Dr. Thomas McDade led a research team to examine whether there are underlying mechanisms that lead to the relationship between our socioeconomic status (SES) and health.
The team evaluated white blood cells obtained from 489 Filipino participants of different incomes, education levels, and living conditions obtained from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, and found that living in poverty affects DNA methylation on the genome Level, make people prone to health problems in future life.
DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that helps regulate gene expression. Evidence from this study shows that 2500 CpG sites on more than 1500 genes of people living in poverty are equivalent to 10% of the genome. Gene, DNA methylation levels have changed. Genes related to increased DNA methylation are related to bone development, immune response and nervous system development, showing the cause of future health problems.
The relationship between epigenetic age and allergies in children
In the past ten years, the diagnosis rate of children with allergies and asthma has increased greatly. Although to a certain extent this is due to the increase in people's medical awareness, what are the reasons for this increase?
The article focuses on the "allergic march", which is the term used when children grow up from one type of allergy to another type of allergy, and how epigenetics determines the biological mechanisms that play a role in it What role does it play in.
In a recent study, scientists studied the relationship between childhood asthma and allergic reactions, DNA methylation age (DNAmAge) and epigenetic age acceleration. The researchers examined the relationship between And mid-childhood) DNA in blood samples taken from children participating in a large cohort study, and then record the DNA methylation level, and use the Horvath method to calculate DNAmAge. The chemical changes that occur in methylated DNA can activate or inhibit gene expression without changing the underlying genetic code.
The overall results show that higher DNAmAge is associated with high IgE levels (antibodies found in the blood of people with allergies) in the middle and late stages of childhood, and is associated with an increased risk of environment, food allergies, and asthma.
Dr. Dawn DeNeo, the senior author of the study, said: "If we can focus future research on early exposure or exposure, such as nutrition intake, we may be able to use the epigenetic clock to find out what changes we can make. To change the trajectory of the development of asthma and allergies.”
The super power of tropical fish's gender conversion may be due to stress
Some animals (perhaps more than you think) have the ability to undergo genetic mutations, basically, they can change from one sex to another. In a study co-led by Dr. Erica Todd of the University of Otago, they examined the female blue-head wrasse's ability to change sex from a genetic perspective.
After the last male in the female mate group disappeared, the female blue-headed wrasse changed from female to male within 10 days. According to Dr. Todd, sex is not always determined by chromosomes, but by clues. In this case, the clue is the male leaving. To track the gender transition, the researchers removed males from the female mate group, and then observed the physical and genetic changes in dominant fish species. As the fish transform, their behavior, genes, and appearance have also changed.
Some of the observed changes include fish epigenetics, which means that the chemical markers in the DNA have changed, which changes the way it is read, rather than the DNA sequence itself.
James Cook University coral reef ecology expert Phillip Munda said that the results of the study showed that epigenetic and genetic changes occurred at the same time. At the same time, physical changes occurred in the ovaries and insulin pills. Dr. Todd pointed out that her research reflects that stress is a phenomenon. Triggering factors.
According to Dr. Todd, the results of the study showed that cortisol levels (a stress hormone) of dominant females peak when larger males are removed, leading researchers to hypothesize that this may trigger a chain reaction of gender changes.
The article also explores how to know that other animals will cause gender changes due to rising water temperatures.