Can Changing Seasons Affect Genes
Scientists from Cambridge University, have figured out that around a quarter showed evidence of seasonal variation. They found that the immune system was more active during winter. “This is a really surprising – and serendipitous – discovery,” says Professor John Todd, coauthor of the study and director of the JDRF/Welcome Trust Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory. “In some ways, it’s obvious – it helps explain why so many diseases, from heart disease to mental illness, are much worse in the winter months – but no one had appreciated the extent to which this actually occurred.”
The team looked at blood from more than 16,000 people living in both hemispheres. They discovered that the genes involved with regulating immunity, was more active during the winter. Scientists say that is could be because of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and heart attacks due to inflammation. Also, the seasonal gene activity of those living in the Gambia didn’t match the summer/winter pattern observed. Their gene activity was higher in the rainy season. This might be due to that it keeps from infectious diseases such as malaria from attacking during this time of year.