Adolescents from disadvantaged neighborhoods show gene regulation differences

An 18-year study of 2,000 children born in England and Wales found that young adults raised in communities marked by more economic deprivation, physical dilapidation, social disconnection, and danger display differences in the epigenome — the proteins and chemical compounds that regulate the activity of their genes. The findings suggest that gene regulation may be one biological pathway through which neighborhood disadvantage ‘gets under the skin’ to engender long-term health disparities.