Thursday, September 21, 2006

 

Epigenetics: Environmental Toxin Causes Heritable Adult-Onset Diseases

A disease you are suffering today could be a result of your great-grandmother being exposed to an environmental toxin during pregnancy - and you may already have passed it along to your children.

That's the conclusion reached by researchers at Washington State University, who have found that exposure to an environmental toxin during embryonic development can cause an animal, and almost all of its descendents, to develop adult-onset illnesses such as cancer and kidney disease. Their discovery suggests that toxins may have played a role in the rapid increase in localized geographic areas of diseases that were previously thought to be caused primarily by genetic mutations.

"It's a new way to think about disease," said Michael K. Skinner, director of the Center for Reproductive Biology. [Epigenetics, WSU, Embryo]
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Based on two open access papers from the journal Endocrinology:

"Transgenerational Epigenetic Imprinting of the Male Germ-Line by Endocrine Disruptor Exposure During Gonadal Sex Determination"

"Endocrine Disruptor Vinclozolin Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Adult Onset Disease"

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