Adolescents from deprived communities show gene regulation differences

22 July 2020

Young adults raised in communities marked by more economic deprivation, physical dilapidation, social disconnection and danger display differences in the epigenome – the proteins and chemical compounds 
that regulate the activity of their genes.

This environment affects genes related to chronic inflammation, tobacco smoke, air pollution and lung cancer, says a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina combined the data of more than 1600 children in England and Wales, collected from age five, with information from blood samples collected at 18.

‘These findings may help explain how long-term health disparities among communities emerge,’ said lead author Aaron Reuben.

‘Children who look the same physically and are otherwise healthy may enter adulthood wired at the cellular level for different outcomes in the future.’ 

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