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10-Mar-2019 17:16

Geneticists were especially surprised to find that epigenetic change could be passed down from parent to child, one generation after the next.A study from Randy Jirtle of Duke University showed that when female mice are fed a diet rich in methyl groups, the fur pigment of subsequent offspring is permanently altered.Rather, the handling simply provoked the rats’ mothers to lick and groom their pups more, and to engage more often in a behavior called arched-back nursing, in which the mother gives the pups extra room to suckle against her underside.“It’s all about the tactile stimulation,” Meaney says.

According to the new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA.

Originally these epigenetic changes were believed to occur only during fetal development.

But pioneering studies showed that molecular bric-a-brac could be added to DNA in adulthood, setting off a cascade of cellular changes resulting in cancer.

Likewise, Michael Meaney, a Mc Gill neurobiologist, had been talked into attending by the same colleague, who thought Meaney’s research into animal models of maternal neglect might benefit from Szyf’s perspective.“I can still visualize the place — it was a corner bar that specialized in pizza,” Meaney says. Since the 1970s, researchers had known that the tightly wound spools of DNA inside each cell’s nucleus require something extra to tell them exactly which genes to transcribe, whether for a heart cell, a liver cell or a brain cell.

“Moshe, being kosher, was interested in kosher calories. One such extra element is the methyl group, a common structural component of organic molecules.

According to the new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA.

Originally these epigenetic changes were believed to occur only during fetal development.

But pioneering studies showed that molecular bric-a-brac could be added to DNA in adulthood, setting off a cascade of cellular changes resulting in cancer.

Likewise, Michael Meaney, a Mc Gill neurobiologist, had been talked into attending by the same colleague, who thought Meaney’s research into animal models of maternal neglect might benefit from Szyf’s perspective.“I can still visualize the place — it was a corner bar that specialized in pizza,” Meaney says. Since the 1970s, researchers had known that the tightly wound spools of DNA inside each cell’s nucleus require something extra to tell them exactly which genes to transcribe, whether for a heart cell, a liver cell or a brain cell.

“Moshe, being kosher, was interested in kosher calories. One such extra element is the methyl group, a common structural component of organic molecules.

The bar was in Madrid, where the Cajal Institute, Spain’s oldest academic center for the study of neurobiology, was holding an international meeting.