Smoking Leaves Permanent ‘Footprint’ on Human DNA, Study Finds
Researchers believe that this process could reveal the individual’s smoking history and help identify potential targets for therapy. They added that this study is the largest one examining the effects of smoking on DNA methylation.
“These results are important because methylation, as one of the mechanisms of the regulation of gene expression, affects what genes are turned on, which has implications for the development of smoking-related diseases,” Stephanie J. London, last author and deputy chief of the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a statement.
“Equally important is our finding that even after someone stops smoking, we still see the effects of smoking on their DNA,” she added.
Researchers used blood samples collected from 16,000 people to analyze the DNA methylation sites across the human genome. The participants belonged to 16 groups from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium and one group from the Framingham Heart Study.