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As the saying goes, life and death depend on fate, wealth is in heaven, that is to say, ones wealth is doomed at birth. At first glance, it seems to belong to feudal superstition, which is also an excuse for many people to be lazy. But the latest research from Northwestern University shows that there is a certain scientific basis for this statement. Researchers have found that poverty can leave a deep-rooted mark in genes.
Previous studies have shown that socioeconomic status (SES) is an important determinant of human health, and social inequality is a common source of stress in the global population. For example, lower education and income predict an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, many cancers and infectious diseases. In addition, low SES is associated with physiological processes leading to disease development, including chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and cortisol imbalance.
In this study, researchers found that poverty can leave a mark on large areas of the genome, and lower SES levels are associated with DNA methylation (DNA m). DNA methylation is a key epigenetic marker, which may lead to gene expression. In other words, poverty leaves nearly 10% of the genome.
Thomas McDade, the lead researcher in the study, said the findings were significant.
We knew long ago that SES is a powerful determinant of health, but the underlying mechanism through which our bodies `rememberpoverty experiences remains unclear, he said. Our results suggest that DNA methylation may play an important role, and the wide association between SES and DNA m is consistent with the broad biological systems and health outcomes created by SES. Secondly, experience in the development of the body is reflected in the genome, thus truly forming the structure and function of the genome, which is not congenital or acquired.
McDade was surprised to find that in many genes, SES is widely associated with DNA methylation. This model highlights that poverty may have a lasting impact on a wide range of physiological systems and processes through some mechanism, he said.
Follow-up studies need to study the effects of differential DNA methylation on health at sites already identified by researchers, but many genes are associated with immune response to infection, bone development and neurological development.
We will focus on these areas to determine whether DNA methylation is indeed an important mechanism, McDade said. Through this mechanism, SES can leave a lasting molecular imprint on the body and have an impact on healthy life in the future.
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