We are well aware that environmental factors such as smoking, drinking and diet can affect fetal development; however, we do not have a clear understanding of the epigenetic factors that may be involved in this process. A new study now shows that epigenetics may also be involved in fetal growth – in particular birth weight. The scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted a study which examined the relationship between CpG-specific cord blood DNA methylation and birth weight. Using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip (Illumina, Inc., San Diego, California) they determined associations among 1,046 infants from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) enrolled between 1999 and 2008. Using multivariable-adjusted robust linear regression models, they identified 19 differentially methylated CpGs associated with either decreased or increased birth weight. In particular, two well studied genes, ARID5B (associated with decreased birth weight) and XRCC3 (associated with increased birth weight), had multiple significant CpG associations. This study may provide new insight into the role of epigenetics in the regulation of fetal growth.
Source: Learn all about it and read more about their findings here: Neonatal Genome-Wide Methylation Patterns in Relation to Birth Weight in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort. Engel SM, Joubert BR, Wu MC, Olshan AF, Håberg SE, Ueland PM, Nystad W, Nilsen RM, Vollset SE, Peddada SD, London SJ.