A team of researchers, including CIFAR’s Clyde Hertzman (1953 to 2013) and Moshe Szyf, have found a link between socio-economic environment in early life and variation in an individual’s DNA.
The researchers studied the DNA of adults with very different socio-economic positions in early childhood and adulthood. The team specifically looked at one type of DNA change called methylation, which can change the expression of a person’s genes. The team found that the socio-economic environment experienced in early childhood had a greater impact on an adult’s DNA methylation, compared to the environment in adulthood. In the future, the researchers hope to understand how these DNA changes affect an individual’s health.