What agouti can tell us about diet

We've linkurl:written in the past;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/24535/ about Randy Jirtle's agouti mice, which are a neat animal model for epigenetic change. Feed adult mothers a methyl-rich or genistein-rich diet, and DNA methylation lowers expression of the agouti gene in their offspring, shifting their coat color away from the classic agouti yellow and also protecting from obesity, which is associated with normal expression of the gene.

By | February 26, 2007

We've linkurl:written in the past;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/24535/ about Randy Jirtle's agouti mice, which are a neat animal model for epigenetic change. Feed adult mothers a methyl-rich or genistein-rich diet, and DNA methylation lowers expression of the agouti gene in their offspring, shifting their coat color away from the classic agouti yellow and also protecting from obesity, which is associated with normal expression of the gene. Jirtle and colleagues have a new study coming out that he presented at last night at the Keystone meeting -- Reproduction: Advance and Challenges. They exposed the mothers-to-be to Bisphenol A, a plasticizer that's been banned from baby products in the UK and was under consideration for banishment in California, linkurl:as we reported;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15654/ a while back. Apparently, BPA increases expression of the bad gene, meaning that reducing BPA from baby products might miss a developmental window in which it would have a lasting effect. The good news is that that methyl-rich and genistein-rich diets can reverse the effects. His talk was short, so I'll be interested in seeing all the data. Jirtle tells me he thinks this mouse has great potential as a toxicologic screening mechanism in the future, as people start getting more interested in how an expecting mother's diet may affect baby -- not to mention baby's babies.

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