Seasons influence the methylation profiles of newborns: more evidence that mom's diet during pregnancy has lasting effects in her offspring. |EpiBeat

Metastable epialleles (ME) are gene alleles that are differentially expressed through epigenetic regulatory mechanisms. The DNA methylation status of an ME is established during embryonic development, and can be maintained later into life. The differential methylation of these MEs contribute to phenotypic diversity between individuals and provides an explanation for the epigenetic variability observed in monozygotic twins. In laboratory animals, studies have shown that maternal dietary intake strongly influences ME epigenetic status. Increased dietary exposure to a methyl-donor prior to, and during pregnancy, leads to hypermethylation at MEs and permanent phenotypic variance. In humans however, it has been challenging to elucidate the potential influence of maternal methyl-donor intake on ME methylation level due to methodological difficulties in precise dietary control in pre-gestational women.

A new study demonstrates for the first time, in human subjects, that maternal diet intake at gestation has long lasting effects on the epigome of the offspring! Unfortunately, the study was not able to provide further insights on the overall fitness of infants born in different season or the duration of the maternal diet-induced ME methylation. Future investigations addressing these questions is likely to deepen the current understanding on mechanisms of epigenetics as well as possess a substantial socioeconomic impact on the general public.

Here's the paper:-

Maternal nutrition at conception modulates DNA methylation of human metastable epialleles

 Nature Communications

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