Feeds

Identical twins grow up to be different

More proof that genes are weird

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Business security measures using SSL

New research from Europe and the US suggests that identical twins become less identical as the years go by. In a study of 80 sets of identical twins, the researchers found that there were significant epigenetic differences between those older twins, while younger pairs are still identical.

Epigenetics is the study of inheritable changes in gene function, or expression, that happen without a change in gene sequence. So while DNA sequences can be identical, the way those genes are expressed can vary from person to person. It is key to the study of many diseases, including cancers that appear to be caused when certain genes are inappropriately switched off.

The researchers hope the study, published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will further understanding of how the environment and our genes can interact to produce diseases and other differences between people.

"Our study reveals that the patterns of epigenetic modifications in (identical) twin pairs diverge as they become older," the researchers wrote, according to a Reuters report. "Most importantly, we found a direct association between the remarkable epigenetic differences observed and the age of the monozygotic (identical) twins: the youngest pairs were epigenetically similar, whereas the oldest pairs were clearly distinct."

The findings seem to support the idea that environmental factors - like smoking, diet exercise and so on - can have an effect on DNA. ®

Related stories

US scientists launch evolution fight-back
Scientists hail stem cell breakthrough
Genome may be future step for virus writers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.