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  1. 1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Exercise Affects Your DNA and the DNA of Your Offspring



    In a study released a few days ago, scientists have determined that exercising not only affects your current health, but the likelihood of your offspring being healthy, along with DNA itself.

    From the abstract of the study:

    Epigenetic mechanisms are implicated in gene regulation and the development of different diseases. The epigenome differs between cell types and has until now only been characterized for a few human tissues. Environmental factors potentially alter the epigenome. Here we describe the genome-wide pattern of DNA methylation in human adipose tissue from 23 healthy men, with a previous low level of physical activity, before and after a six months exercise intervention...

    ... In conclusion, exercise induces genome-wide changes in DNA methylation in human adipose tissue, potentially affecting adipocyte metabolism.


    Scientists have determined that your crappy decisions affect your children's lives on a DNA level...

    In a detailed layman's explanation, "Structuralbiology" (via Reddit) breaks this down further:

    Even though every cell in your body (except your sperm/eggs and immune cells) has the same chromosomes and the same DNA sequence, they look and behave drastically different! That's because there are many other factors that determine cell function/behavior, other layers to the DNA code, including euchromatin/heterochromatin, histone modification, transposons, long terminal repeats, and DNA methylation. DNA methylation, the addition of methyl groups to CpG islands in the DNA, changes the expression of genes, usually decreasing it (the decrease in the expression of one gene might increase the expression of another). These so called epigenetic changes influence cell behavior, and are ultimately responsible for cell identity, i.e. it's what makes your skin cell different from your heart cell.

    The researchers found that regular exercise for 6 months changed the methylation states of many genes in our fat (adipose) cells, including 31 genes specific to obesity and diabetes type 2, reducing their expression level a small but significant amount, <10%. When they independently silenced a few of these specific genes with siRNA, expression of these genes was reduced by 50-70%, and the basal metabolic rate of and the rate of fat breakdown in fat cells increased drastically, by about 44%.
    This is so cool. A recent paper showed drastic genetic changes in skeletal muscle cells, but this paper shows a similar biological change in fat cells. Not only do they identify the biological relevance of a few genes, by quantifying epigenetic change after regular exercise, these researchers showed that our genetics aren't static, but dynamically changing to respond to our environment; our environment fundamentally alters cell behavior at the genetic level.

    These changes may be heritable. Actually, I think it'd be interesting to see whether or not these specific DNA methylation states can be inherited from one generation to the next (a few papers have shown this already for other genes). Their research could explain why some people are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes than others, and help develop new genetic screens to test for one's susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. We might figure out whether or not the effects of regular exercise could be passed on to our offspring! It's interesting to note that only a handful of the genes found to be affected by exercise had to do with obesity and type 2 diabetes. The other genes might be responding to or be affected by inflammation or other indirect sequelae of exercise and may have biologically significance in other cell types.

    It's important to note that the paper does not demonstrate the epigenetic changes are stably expressed. DNA methylation is reversible. How long do these exercise-induced epigenetic marks remain on the DNA? Do they remain after 3 days, 3 months, if at all? The more stable the change, the more biologically relevant it is. These are really important questions!


    Editor's note: with any science-based article, it's tempting to generalize conclusions and overhype a discovery into something it's not. However, given that any rational personal already realizes that the decisions you make as a parent affect the lives of your children, this is just another bullet in the magazine for those of us who are pushing for people to lead more active, healthier lifestyles, out of a sense of social responsibility. "Think of the children" indeed.

  2. Devil is online now
    Devil's Avatar

    His heart was visible, and the dismal sack that maketh excrement of what is eaten.

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    Posted On:
    8/02/2013 8:57am

    supporting member
     

    1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I know we're a long way from real proof, but this isn't the first time I've suspected as much. It just makes sense somehow.

    Fortunately when my kids were conceived I was a gotdamn Adonis. Now, I'm Adonis' cute but less athletic brother.
  3. jnp is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/02/2013 9:24am

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     Style: BJJ, wrestling

    5
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Epigenetic DNA methylation for the heritable win!
    Shut the hell up and train.
  4. danharr is online now
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    Posted On:
    8/02/2013 10:01am

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    1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Maybe this will motivate people to get up now that potentially future generations can be affected by your unhealthy lifestyle.
  5. theAsthmatic is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/02/2013 10:10am


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by danharr View Post
    Maybe this will motivate people to get up now that potentially future generations can be affected by your unhealthy lifestyle.
    Or, it will motivate a whole new generation of kids to say "It's not my fault I am fat. My parents didn't exercise."

    One or the other...
  6. Bneterasedmynam is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/02/2013 11:51am


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by danharr View Post
    Maybe this will motivate people to get up now that potentially future generations can be affected by your unhealthy lifestyle.
    They knew they were effected before the study, kids learn unhealthy habits from their parents. I can't see this study causing any change with people like that.
  7. wetware is online now

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    Posted On:
    8/02/2013 11:59am


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by theAsthmatic View Post
    Or, it will motivate a whole new generation of kids to say "It's not my fault I am fat. My parents didn't exercise."

    One or the other...
    Yeah, but the fun part of epigenetics is that in cases where it's applicable you can often change heritable factors both for you and future generations of your spawn.

    I can totally see someone using it to make excuses, though. Problem is they'd be incorrect to do so. But that never stopped anybody.
  8. pokeroo is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/02/2013 10:05pm


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    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I don't see this article to really show that exercise affects the genetics of offspring, although with the culture of this online community I can see how a lot of members read into it that way. None of what I read involved analysing sperm or egg samples. Seems to me the article was saying thst exercise may positively affect the epigenetics of your own adipose tissue. Although it would be cool if it did affect the genetics of your offspring.
    So is everone mad at me now for telling fat (and stupid) people that the boogie man doesn't exist? Forgive me but it seems that the interpretation of this article seems to be rather hyperbolic, and the truth in rhe current body of knowledge about exercise and leading a sedentary lifestyle should be enough motivation without having to rely on such tactics.

    Sent from my SGH-I747M using Bullshido - No BS MMA mobile app
  9. wetware is online now

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    Posted On:
    8/02/2013 10:10pm


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    This particular study doesn't establish heritability, however epigenetic factors are very often heritable.
  10. Hertzyscowicz is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/03/2013 10:39am


     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Of course, they noticed the change in fat tissue. So, not necessarily heritable, but if you are going to be manufacturing sperm/eggs out of other types of tissue, the fat tissue is a good candidate.
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