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Stress, Harsh Life Lead to Degeneration of Children’s Genes: Study

by Anubha Sinha on April 11, 2014 at 9:19 AM
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Stress, Harsh Life Lead to Degeneration of Children’s Genes: Study

Children who grow in poor and hard conditions exhibit shorter DNA strands which is an indication of illness and ageing of DNA, revealed a study.

Children as young as nine year old were affected by the extreme conditions, the research said. After a study that was conducted on 40 nine-year-old African-American boys, it was found that they had shorter telomeres compared to boys who were lucky to live in happy environment. Telomeres are DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes.

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The researchers say this kind of genetic change among young children of minority children of vulnerable communities will help in early-childhood intervention programmes.

The scientists also found that the telomeres were shorter for boys who had low family income, low levels of maternal education, family instability and harsh parenting style.
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On the other hand, there was no shortening of telomeres for those who had higher-income and more stable backgrounds.

Studies have also revealed that stress has a negative impact on DNA, it quickens the shortening of telomeres which is equivalent to genetic weathering.

"Originally, I think we thought that we'd see it with the mothers of these kids," said Colter Mitchell, lead author of the study and a faculty research fellow at the University of Michigan's Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center. "But I think more surprising is that we see it as young as 9."

Source: Medindia
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