According to a new study, though inherited DNA genes cannot be changed, the way that the genes express themselves can be altered by individual actions, it is been revealed.
A constant work- out can positively affect the way cells interact with fat stored in the body,. The new study has been published in the journal PLOS Genetics found.
The genes have attached ‘methyl groups’ which affect what is known as ‘gene expression’. These can be influenced in various ways, such as exercise, diet and lifestyle.
Lead author, Charlotte Ling, Associate Professor at Lund University Diabetes Centre, in Sweden, said: “Our study shows the positive effects of exercise, because the epigenetic pattern of genes that affect fat storage in the body changes.”
Researchers looked at the DNA of 23 slightly overweight but healthy men aged around 35, who didn’t regularly exercise, after attending spinning and aerobics classes for six months.
They found that changes had taken place in 7000 genes, over a third of the average total of 20,000.
A closer look revealed genes linked to diabetes and obesity, also connected to storing fat, had also been altered.
“We found changes in those genes too, which suggests that altered DNA methylation as a result of physical activity could be one of the mechanisms of how these genes affect the risk of disease.
“This has never before been studied in fat cells. We now have a map of the DNA methylome in fat,” Professor Lind said.
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).
The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Human DNA consists of about 3 billion bases, and more than 99 percent of those bases are the same in all people. The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism, similar to the way in which letters of the alphabet appear in a certain order to form words and sentences.
DNA bases pair up with each other, A with T and C with G, to form units called base pairs. Each base is also attached to a sugar molecule and a phosphate molecule. Together, a base, sugar, and phosphate are called a nucleotide. Nucleotides are arranged in two long strands that form a spiral called a double helix. The structure of the double helix is somewhat like a ladder, with the base pairs forming the ladder’s rungs and the sugar and phosphate molecules forming the vertical sidepieces of the ladder.
An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases. This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell.