Separation at birth triggers genomic changes in kidsDecember 6th, 2011 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Dec 6 (IANS) Children who feel the pangs of separation from parents at birth and are brought up in orphanages undergo genetic changes, reveals a study.
“Our study shows that the early stress of separation from a biological parent impacts long-term programming of genome function,” said Elena Grigorenko, researcher at the Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Centre.
“This might explain why adopted children may be particularly vulnerable to harsh parenting in terms of their physical and mental health,” said Grigorenko, the journal Development and Psychopathology reported.
The investigators compared two cohorts - a group of children raised since birth in orphanages and another group raised by their natural parents - in the northwest region of the Russian Federation, according to a university statement.
Grigorenko and colleagues took blood samples from both groups aged between seven and 10 years. They then profiled their genomes to identify which biological processes and pathways might be affected by deprivation of parental attention and care.
The team found that in orphaned group, there was a greater number of changes in the genetic regulation of the systems controlling immune response and inter-cellular interactions, including a number of important mechanisms in the development and function of the brain.
“Parenting of adopted children might require more nurture and care to reverse these changes in genome regulation,” concluded Grigorenko.
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Tags: biological parent, biological processes, blood samples, cellular interactions, cohorts, development and psychopathology, elena grigorenko, function of the brain, genetic changes, genetic regulation, genomes, immune response, natural parents, northwest region, nurture, pangs, pathways, s child, school of medicine, yale school of medicine