"Epigenetics" Means What We Eat, How We Live and Love, Alters How Our Genes Behave

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Oct 25 2005 - 4:08pm

Epigenetics

A mother rat withholds nurturing licks from its pup and elicits a brain change that impairs the pup's response to stress as an adult, researchers in Canada found. A pregnant woman's dietary deficits increase her offspring's risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease later in life, researchers in England have shown.

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These startling scientific discoveries illuminate the emerging field of epigenetics, in which single nutrients, toxins, behaviors or environmental exposures of any sort can silence or activate a gene without altering its genetic code in any way.

Rather, the environmental exposure triggers a chemical change in the body or brain that mobilizes a group of molecules

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