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Nutrition and epigenetics - How the genome learns from experience

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John Mathers


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(1) Epigenetics describes changes to DNA and its associated proteins that alter gene expression without changing the DNA sequence. (2) The main features of epigenetic marking of the genome are: • DNA methylation; • Histone decoration (by methylation, acetylation, phosphorylation and/or ubiquination). (3) There is a growing body of evidence that aberrant DNA methylation and altered histone decoration are features of ageing and of the development of a number of common diseases, e.g. Ulcerative colitis, cancer and Alzhemier's disease. (4) Dietary factors influencing DNA methylation and histone decoration include folate, methionine and choline. (5) A better understanding of the effects of food components on DNA methylation may help to prevent diseases in which aberrant methylation patterns contribute to their aetiology. (6) The pattern of histone decoration may provide a possible route for the development of novel biomarkers of dietary exposure. (7) More research is needed to examine how dietary factors influence epigenetic markings and subsequently gene expression. © 2005 British Nutrition Foundation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mathers JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrition Bulletin

Year: 2005

Volume: 30

Issue: 1

Pages: 6-12

Print publication date: 01/03/2005

ISSN (print): 1471-9827

ISSN (electronic): 1467-3010

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-3010.2005.00485.x


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