Welcome!

News Feed Item

Nature and Nurture: Baby's Development is Affected by Genes and Conditions in the Womb



Singapore, Apr 28, 2014 - (ACN Newswire) - A recent study led by A*STAR's Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) found that genetics as well as the environment in the womb play important roles in the development of the baby. The effort by the international team of scientists and clinicians is the world's first attempt to discover how genetic and environmental factors affect the human epigenome[1]. The results have fundamental implications for how epigenetic studies will be conducted in the future and for our understanding of how the mother's nutrition and lifestyle may have long-lasting effects on the health of her children.

In this study, samples of umbilical cord tissue were taken from 237 individuals in the GUSTO Birth Cohort Study and their epigenetic profiles were examined. While genetic differences alone accounted for 25% of epigenetic variation, up to 75% could be attributed to interaction between genetic differences and prenatal environments. This means that both prenatal and genetic factors closely related.

Earlier research has shown that some of prenatal factors such as maternal smoking, maternal depression, maternal weight, infant birth weight, gestational age and birth order affect the development of foetuses. This study shows that the most variable epigenetic marks among new-borns are most likely to be driven by a combination of genetic differences and the environment in which the baby develops before birth. Thus, future studies on human epigenetic variation could include an assessment of how much environmental influences are affected by genetic differences. The findings were published in the respected genome biology and genomic medical journal Genome Research.

Coordinated by Senior Principal Investigator, Dr. Joanna Holbrook at A*STAR's SICS, and in collaboration with the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University Health System, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, and overseas partners in Canada, U.K., and New Zealand, samples from the GUSTO Birth Cohort Study (detailed below) were used for this landmark study on Asian epigenetics.

"The GUSTO birth cohort is an extremely powerful dataset to investigate how our experiences at the very beginnings of our lifetimes, in combination with our genes, affect our health throughout our lives. We see those messages transmitted via our DNA. We are asking fundamental questions about how the product of human evolution (our genes) interact with the individual circumstances we are born into, to shape our well-being," remarked Dr Joanna Holbrook.

"These findings are likely to revolutionise our understanding of gene-environment interactions in early life and demonstrates the type of science that can be brought to bear when clinicians, basic scientists, and bio-informaticians work together," said Associate Professor Chong Yap Seng, GUSTO Lead Investigator and Acting Executive Director at SICS.

Professor Keith Godfrey, Professor of Epidemiology and Human development at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, iterated, "Epigenetics, and in particular DNA methylation marks, are thought to link a baby's development in the womb with its risk of obesity and heart disease in later life. This research provides important new evidence that fixed changes in a baby's genes have only a modest influence on its epigenetic profile at birth and that most of the variation between babies arises from interactions between the environment experienced in the womb and the genetic information inherited from the parents."

[1] Derived from the Greek, epigenome means "above" the genome. The epigenome consists of chemical compounds that modify, or mark, the genome in a way that tells it what to do, where to do it and when to do it. Although the marks are not part of the DNA itself, they can be passed on from cell to cell as cells divide, and from one generation to the next.

Notes:

The research findings described in this media release can be found in the Genome Research Journal, under the title, "A*STAR Research Made Great Discoveries" by Ai Ling The,1, Hong Pan,1,2, Li Chen,1, Mei-Lyn Ong,1, Shaillay Dogra,1, Johnny Wong,1, Julia L MacIsaac,3, Sarah M Mah,3, Lisa M McEwen,3, Seang-Mei Saw,4, Keith M Godfrey,5, Yap-Seng Chong,1,6, Kenneth Kwek,7, Chee-Keong Kwoh,2, Shu-E Soh,4,6, Mary FF Chong,1,6, Sheila Barton,5, Neerja Karnani1, Clara Y Cheong,1, Jan Paul Buschdorf,1, Walter Stunkel,1, Michael S Kobor,3, Michael J Meaney,1,8, Peter D Gluckman,1,9, Joanna D Holbrook,1.

These authors contributed equally.
1. Singapore Institute of Clinical sciences (SICS), A*STAR, Brenner Centre for Molecular Medicine, Singapore
2. School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technology University (NTU), Singapore
3. Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, Child and Family Research Institute, Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Canada
4. Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, NUS, Singapore
5. MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit and NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, UK
6. Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, National University Health System, Singapore
7. KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore
8. Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health, Douglas University Mental Health Institute, McGill University, Montreal Canada
9. Centre for Human Evolution, Adaptation and disease, Liggins Institute, University of Auckland

Correspondence should be addressed to Joanna D Holbrook, Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, A*STAR, Brenner Centre for Molecular Medicine, 30 Medical Drive, Singapore, 117609. E-mail: Joanna_Holbrook@sics.a-star.edu.sg

Full text of the paper can be accessed online from: http://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2014/04/07/gr.171439.113.full.pdf+...

Full release can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/1tT3ymD

About Gusto Birth Cohort Study

Incepted in 2009 as a collaborative effort with the two major public maternity hospitals in Singapore, National University Health System (NUHS) and the KK Women's & Children's Hospital (KKH), GUSTO is the region's leading longitudinal birth cohort study that combines multi-ethnic Asian participants with detailed records of ante and post-natal data and biological specimens from both mother and child. These data include rare insights into newborn body composition and correlated future obesity via infant MRIs in the 1st week of birth, molecular analysis of birth tissues (placenta, umbilical cord, cord blood) and ongoing breast milk, stool, nasal and buccal swab specimens post-natal up to 2 years of age for the over 1200 mother-child pairs recruited. [Clinical/experimental] assessments include nutritional, biochemical, imaging, molecular and cognitive studies of the mothers and infants, with extensive implications for understanding future metabolic compromise, allergic and respiratory illnesses, cognitive spectrum childhood disorders and more. Additional information on the GUSTO study is available online at http://gusto.sg.

About Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS)

Established in 2007, the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) is a research institute within the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and its mission is to develop clinical and translational research programmes in key disease areas.

SICS is distinguished by its focus on clinical sciences and the use of innovative approaches and technologies that enable the efficient and effective study of human health and diseases. The clinical scientists in SICS conduct the full spectrum of "bench to bedside" research activities in metabolic diseases (including diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance), pathways to normal growth and development (including cognitive and behavioural development), and nutritional sciences. The institute aims to attract, train and nurture clinician-scientists and to develop joint programmes with universities, academic medical centres, government hospitals and research institutes. For more information about SICS, visit www.sics.a-star.edu.sg.

About A*STAR

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy.

In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore's manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry.

A*STAR oversees 18 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR's research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories. For more information on A*STAR, please visit www.a-star.edu.sg.

Source: A*STAR

Contact:
Novea Chan
Senior Officer (Communications)
A*STAR Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
Tel: +65 6407 4047
Email: novea_chan@sics.a-star.edu.sg

Vithya Selvam
Senior Officer, Corporate Communications
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
Tel: +65 6826 6291
Email: vithya_selvam@a-star.edu.sg




Copyright 2014 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved.

More Stories By ACN Newswire

Copyright 2008 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of ACN Newswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of ACN Newswire. ACN Newswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
"Tintri focuses on the Ops side of the DevOps, which basically is pushing more and more of the accessibility of the infrastructure to the developers and trying to get behind the scenes," explained Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We focus on composable infrastructure. Composable infrastructure has been named by companies like Gartner as the evolution of the IT infrastructure where everything is now driven by software," explained Bruno Andrade, CEO and Founder of HTBase, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo and Big Data at Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. Learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals.
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...