Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

“Poverty leaves mark on genes”

A new study challenges prevailing understandings of genes as immutable features of biology that are fixed at conception.


Previous research has shown that socioeconomic status is a powerful determinant of human health and disease, and social inequality is a ubiquitous stressor for human populations globally.

In this study, researchers found evidence that poverty can become embedded across wide swaths of the genome.

They discovered lower socioeconomic status is associated with levels of DNA methylation (DNAm) – a key epigenetic mark that has the potential to shape gene expression – at more than 2,500 sites, across more than 1,500 genes.

They state that this means poverty leaves a mark on nearly 10% of the genes in the genome. Lead author Thomas McDade said experiences over the course of development can shape the genome’s function.  


Image credit | Shutterstock

Related Articles


MRI for diagnosing heart disease

An international team of scientists is the first to show that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to measure how the heart uses oxygen for both healthy patients and those with heart disease.


“More investment needed for science”

A £20bn investment is needed if the government is to achieve its vision of a science-led economy, according to a new analysis.


Synthetic DNA from extraterrestrial intelligence to future biomolecules

Following the creation of artificial E. coli, we look at the history of those pushing the boundaries in the field of synthetic biology