Examining epigenetics’ influence on obesity, cancer

In recent decades, researchers have been examining the role of epigenetics—the study of modifications in DNA that do not alter the DNA sequence itself but can lead to lifelong changes in gene activity—in the development of dozens of diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to Alzheimer’s disease.

A September 26, 2018 article in Technology Networks looked at epigenetic studies involving cancer and obesity. In the article, Lu Qi, adjunct professor of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discussed the link between an epigenetic mechanism called DNA methylation and the development of obesity.

“Recently, genome-wide studies have provided convincing data to link DNA methylation to human adiposity (i.e., BMI, body mass index),” Qi said. “It is believed that dietary or lifestyle changes more likely affect epigenomic changes (e.g. DNA methylation) during a developmental window, such as during the prenatal period or early childhood.”

Read the Technology Networks article: Above the Genome: How Epigenetics Influences Cancer and Obesity