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Aurora magazine

DNA effects: are they contagious?

A European Bioinformatics Institute of Hinxton experiment reveals that genetics could be "contagious." According to the researchers, in fact, the DNA affects both us and those who live alongside us. Indirect effects of this influence would act on anxiety levels, the immune system and also on body weight. The discovery sheds new light on the study of many complex diseases, with strokes often inexplicable if one considers only the patient's genetic make-up.

It is well known that people and condition each other, especially when it comes to recurring behaviors and habits. The observation on guinea pigs, however, has revealed a genetic basis for the phenomenon in question. Researchers have measured the physical and behavioral traits of different groups of mice, putting them in relation to the genetic traits of cage mates. The data showed that the DNA of the other mice would affect up to 29% of the variation observed in guinea pigs. Changes that would have also touched on factors such as levels of immunity and speed healing.

The discovery could influence the way in which you make a diagnosis. If confirmed, in fact, the social context in which the patient lives will acquire much more importance. Your doctor may need to investigate not only the patient's DNA itself, but also on that of those who live around.