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World experts meet in Edinburgh to consider how life experiences impact on our genes
Date:6/25/2012

symposium commenced Professor John Hobcraft of the University of York, the lead scientific organiser of the Symposium, said: "Research is beginning to indicate how environmental and social factors are linked to a series of epigenetic changes, sometimes across quite broad areas of the genome. Factors such as the way in which parents bring up their offspring (parenting, diet, cognitive inputs) or experience of social disadvantages seem to have implications for how genes manifest themselves in later life."

"By bringing together experts from biological, medical and social sciences, this symposium will help determine how we can best work co-operatively to address 'grand challenge' research questions on the links between the social sciences and epigenetics and the pathways and mechanisms involved. Further progress in understanding the consequences of these epigenetic changes, and their potential reversibility for later in life, has the potential to bring benefits to individuals and society as a whole."

Commenting on the significance of the symposium to Scotland Professor Steve Yearley, Director of the Edinburgh-based ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, said: "Scotland has long been at the forefront of life-sciences and social science research. It is therefore fitting that such a high-profile event, bringing together a diverse group of international experts to determine the opportunities and challenges research into epigenetics presents for the world, should be hosted in Scotland."

"Equally, recent scientific studies have indicated that some of the problems Scotland continues to experience in relation to poor health despite efforts by policy-makers to address these may actually be linked to epigenetic changes resulting from social deprivation. This may partly underlie the so-called 'Glasgow effect'".


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Contact: Press Office
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Economic & Social Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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