En­vi­ron­ment trumps hered­ity

Down to Earth - - SCI­ENCE -

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL FAC TOR S have a greater im­pact on an in­di­vid­ual's im­mune sys­tem than hered­i­tary fac­tors. This has emerged from a study on 78 pairs of iden­ti­cal twins (al­most 100 per cent ge­net­i­cally iden­ti­cal) and 27 pairs of fra­ter­nal twins (50 per cent ge­net­i­cally iden­ti­cal). Anal­y­ses of blood sam­ples of these twins for 200 im­mune-sys­tem com­po­nents found that en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, such as ex­po­sure to tox­ins and vac­ci­na­tion, had a greater im­pact than hered­ity on about two-thirds of the com­po­nents. Cell, Jan­uary 15

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