Washington State University researchers say environmental factors are having an underappreciated effect on the course of disease and evolution by prompting genetic mutations through epigenetics, a process by which genes are turned on and off independent of an organism’s DNA sequence. » More …
From the Oxford University Press Blog:
Environmental Epigenetics is a new, international, peer-reviewed, fully open access journal, which publishes research in any area of science and medicine related to the field of epigenetics, with particular interest on environmental relevance. With the first issue scheduled to launch this summer, we found this to be the perfect time to speak with WSU biologist Dr. Michael K. Skinner, Editor-in-Chief, to discuss the launch of the journal into an exciting and rapidly developing field. » More …
WSU biologist Michael Skinner and his research team found that if a rat fetus is exposed to a specific pesticide during the first trimester of pregnancy, the likelihood of kidney disease, ovary disease and obesity in their decendents was elevated for three generations. Multiple diseases were even more prevalent in the third generation than in the second. The widely used chemical, Methoxychlor, once considered a safer alternative to DDT, was banned in the U.S. in 2003 for a host of human health reasons. The research points to a negative effect decades after exposure. In other words, the great-great-grandchildren of a woman exposed to Methoxychlor may still suffer the consequences.
Read more about the epigenetic connection in
Additional information about Skinner’s research is in the
August 2014 issue of Scientific American
“What your great-grandmother was exposed to during pregnancy, like DDT, may promote a dramatic increase in your susceptibility to obesity, and you will pass this on to your grandchildren in the absence of any continued exposures,” says WSU professor Michael Skinner.
Research shows ancestral exposures to environmental compounds like the insecticide DDT may be a factor in high rates of obesity. The finding comes as DDT is getting a second look as a tool against malaria.
Read latest research finding in the
current issue of the journal BMC Medicine.