Mounting evidence suggests that poor nutrition (e.g. folate deficiency) can influence our epigenomes leading to increased disease risk in adult life and in the next generation. Understanding how diseases are epigenetically transmitted between generations will impact human health; however, the mechanism remains unclear. To explore this phenomenon, I will utilise a genetic mouse line (Mtrr) in which normal folate metabolism is disrupted resulting in congenital defects similar to those seen in maternal folate deficiency in humans. Remarkably, the phenotypes in the Mtrr model, such as growth restriction, developmental delay and congenital defects (e.g. neural tube, heart and placental defects) are transgenerationally inherited by the wildtype grandprogeny. Using genetic, cellular and embryo manipulation techniques in the Mtrr model, I will investigate the transgenerational effects of folate metabolism on feto-placental development,
which may change how we think about disease inheritance.
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