Our Genome Changes as We Age

Posted on June 26, 2008  Comments (2)

Our Genome Changes Over Our Lifetime

For the new study, researchers first collected DNA samples collected in 1991 and again between 2002 and 2006 from 600 participants already enrolled in the AGES Reykjavik Study. The AGES study is renowned for its value to genetics research because of the historic isolation and reduced number of genetic “variables” among Iceland’s population, making certain patterns of genetic information easier to identify.

Among the 600, the research team measured the total amount of DNA methylation in each of 111 samples and compared total methylation from DNA collected in 2002 to 2005 to that person’s DNA collected in 1991.

They discovered that in almost one-third of the subjects, methylation changed over that 11-year span, with some gaining DNA methylation and others losing it.

“The key thing this part of the study told us is that levels changed over time, proof of principle that an individual’s epigenetic profile does change with age,” said M. Daniele Fallin, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Still a puzzle, though, was why or how, Fallin said, “so we wondered whether the tendency to those changes was also inherited, right along with our DNA sequences. That would explain why certain families are more susceptible to certain diseases.”

Related: Genetic Information Nondiscrimination ActLearning About the Human GenomeGenomics Course For College Freshman Supported by HHMI at 12 Universities

2 Responses to “Our Genome Changes as We Age”

  1. Gerri
    June 28th, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

    If we can link some of these tendencies for change to familial genes that will play a huge factor in help boost preventative medicine for some of the most debilitating diseases.

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