Prenatal famine drives DNA methylation and adult health six decades later
DNA methylation, known to enable the activity of genes and be involved in development and metabolism, plays a key role in the link between prenatal famine exposure and body mass index and adult metabolic health, according to researchers at Leiden University Medical Center and Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. While earlier studies using animal models have illustrated the potential of epigenetics to influence health over the short run, this study in humans shows that the impact of a nutrition shock, like famine, on epigenetic markers in early life can still be linked to adult health, six decades later. The findings are published online in the journal Science Advances.
See also Columbia University's original and official press release and commentary in the New York Times!