Liggins Institute special seminar: Epigenetic studies of a newborn twin cohort: insights into pre- and postnatal development Event as iCalendar

28 June 2013

2:30 - 3:30pm

Venue: Seminar Room 505-003, Building 505, 85 Park Road, Grafton

The Peri/postnatal Epigenetic Twins Study (PETS) is a unique cohort of 250 mothers and their twins. The aims of PETS are to study the plasticity of epigenetic marks and the genes they control during the intrauterine period and in early childhood. It also aims to apply the classical twins model to determine the influence of genetic, common and unique environmental factors on the neonatal epigenome.

By analysing DNA methylation and gene expression on a genome scale in monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs we found that twin pairs exhibited a wide range of within-pair epigenetic discordance, which overlapped with that observed between unrelated individuals. Comparison with similar data sets from older twins yielded no evidence of “epigenetic drift” over time. Furthermore, longitudinal analysis indicated that twin pairs can drift, remain similar or converge during this time. We have also linked low birth weight with epigenetic changes to genes involved in lipid metabolism and cardiovascular function, providing a possible mechanistic link between birth weight and complex disease in later life. Recently, we have found evidence supporting the role of non-shared intrauterine environment on neonatal epigenetic state.

We are currently planning to see our twins again at six years of age with a focus on cardiovascular risk markers and microbiomes.

Presented by: Dr Jeff Craig , PhD, Early Life Epigenetics Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne

For further information please contact: Jo Perry