Saturday, July 16, 2005

Methylization: The next best thing to constantly mutating!

` Since I was little, I've always wanted to turn into a mutant of some kind. I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that at least we all do the closest thing to it (besides developing cancerous growths).
` It's now been demonstrated by Mario Fraga et al that even after you are born, the expressions of your own genes (and histones) can continue to be strongly influenced by the environment, via a type of reaction called methylization.

` Sehr interessant!

` Here's my source:
` Twins Grow Apart As They Age
` by Roxanne Khamsi.

` Here's some of that:

To assess the variability in how genes are expressed between identical twins, the researchers studied genetic material from 40 pairs, ranging in age from 3 to 74 years old. They then assessed the amount of methylation of the DNA. The resulting computer-generated images highlights areas with significant differences in methylation.

The degree of chemical modification of DNA and its accompanying histones varied significantly between twins in a third of the pairs overall. But the older the twins were, the greater was the variability. Among the participants older than 28 years, chemical modification of DNA was significantly different in more than 60% of twin pairs.

Such changes can easily affect susceptibility to disease. The team identified one case in which a man with diabetes had an associated gene activated by a chemical change, where his healthy twin did not.

The study also found that the more time twins had spent apart, the more their patterns of gene activation differed. This further supports the notion that environmental factors exert a strong influence on genetic expression.

` Since I don't pay that much attention to genes, this comes as a surprise!
` Unfortunately, it's not really like mutating every day of your life. The genes you already have are the ones that are misbehaving.

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