This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Epigenetic 'Memory' Key to Nature Versus Nurture

Researchers at the John Innes Centre have made a discovery, reported this evening (24 July) in Nature, that explains how an organism can create a biological memory of some variable condition, such as quality of nutrition or temperature. The discovery explains the mechanism of this memory -- a sort of biological switch -- and how it can also be inherited by offspring.

The work was led by Professor Martin Howard and Professor Caroline Dean at the John Innes Centre.

Professor Dean said "There are quite a few examples that we now know of where the activity of genes can be affected in the long term by environmental factors. And in some cases the environment of an individual can actually affect the biology or physiology of their offspring but there is no change to the genome sequence."

For example, some studies have shown that in families where there was a severe food shortage in the grandparents' generation, the children and grandchildren have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which could be explained by epigenetic memory. But until now there hasn't been a clear mechanism to explain how individuals could develop a "memory" of a variable factor, such as nutrition.
Read more

TAGGED: BIOLOGY, GENETICS


RELATED CONTENT

Blogging the Human Genome

Sam Kean - Slate Comments

Blogging the Human Genome

Scientists place 500-million-year-old...

- - PhysOrg.com Comments

Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, Georgia Tech researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. This bacterium has now been growing for more than 1,000 generations, giving the scientists a front row seat to observe evolution in action. Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

Q&A: Plant scientists answer your...

- - Sense About Science 6 Comments

Welcome to this questions and answer session on cross fertilisation, which has also been called contamination, with Wendy harwood and Huw Jones.

Open letter and video re threat to GM...

Rothamsted Research - YouTube/Sense... 79 Comments

Add your support to the appeal from scientists at the publicly funded Rothamsted Research: Don't Destroy Our Research.

Finding Phenotypes

Edyta Zielinska - TheScientist 7 Comments

Genes shared across species that produce different phenotypes—deafness in humans and directional growth in plants—may reveal new models of disease.

Synthetic Genetic Evolution

Ruth Williams - TheScientist 9 Comments


Synthetic Genetic Evolution

MORE

MORE BY -

Viewpoints: Why is faith falling in the...

- - BBC News Comments

A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.

Missionaries of Hate

- - Top Documentary Films Comments

Documentary about ongoing events in Uganda, where many question whether the growing influence of American religious groups has led to a movement to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death.

Scientists Discover Previously Unknown...

- - URMC Comments

Newer Imaging Technique Brings ‘Glymphatic System’ to Light

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The...

- - human rights first Comments

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”

Atheists On Religion, Science, And...

- - YouTube - townsquare Comments

Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').

WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 25 - 26...

- - Ancestors Trail Walk Comments

WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 26 AUGUST 2012 - event begins on Saturday 25 August

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment