Health Canal - Early struggles help shape DNA: Environment leaves gene imprint: study


Living conditions of early childhood provoke biological changes in genes leading to DNA memory that can last a lifetime, an international study found. Experts have already noted that income, education and neighbourhood resources can have a dramatic effect on children's health, and a poor socio-economic environment in infancy can translate into higher risk for adult disease and mortality.

But a study published online Thursday in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggests that early experience is more than skin deep. Early environment influences brain and biological development and leaves a "memory" in the genetic code that affects the way genes function, say researchers from McGill University, the University of British Columbia and the UCL Institute of Child Health in London, England.