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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFemale Reproductive SystemFertilizationThe Appearance of SomitesFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterDevelopmental Timeline
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October 19, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts


Michael Kobor speaking about DNA methylation and his research




WHO Child Growth Charts

       

Genes and Immune System Shaped by Childhood Poverty, Stress

A study has revealed that childhood poverty, stress as an adult, and demographics such as age, sex and ethnicity, all leave an imprint on a person’s genes – and, that this imprint could play a role in our immune response

The study from the University of British Columbia and Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT) was published last week in a special volume of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that looks at how experiences beginning before birth and in the years after can affect the course of a person’s life.


Known as epigenetics, or the study of changes
in gene expression, this research examined
a process called DNA methylation
where a chemical molecule is added to DNA
acting like a dimmer on a light bulb switch,
turning genes on or off or setting them
somewhere in between.

Research has shown that a person’s
life experiences play a role in
shaping DNA methylation patterns.

Researchers discovered that childhood poverty,
but not socioeconomic status as an adult,
is correlated with the marks or methylation
patterns left on genes.

“We found biological residue of early life poverty.
This was based on clear evidence that environmental influences correlate with epigenetic patterns.”

Michael Kobor
research leader
Associate Professor Medical Genetics, UBC
CMMT lab, Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI)


The amount of stress hormones produced by adults was also linked with variations in DNA methylation. Like the chicken and the egg, Kobor says it is unknown whether increased stress as an adult could leave marks on DNA or whether the marks may play a role in the amount of stress hormones released.

Kobor, who is a Mowafaghian Scholar at the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), and his colleagues also found that methylation patterns were predictive of future immune responses, suggesting that early life experiences could play a role in our response to illness later in life.

Original article: http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2012/10/18/
genes-and-immune-system-shaped-by-childhood-poverty-stress/