Spokesman-Review Highlights Research from Washington State Twin Registry

Feet on scale

Researchers at Washington State University are exploring the possibility that today’s high rates of obesity could be linked to epigenetics rather than just diet and exercise. The work is featured in a new article in The Spokesman-Review.

The article highlights the study’s co-authors Michael Skinner, PhD, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences and Glen Duncan, PhD, nutrition and exercise physiology chair and the director of the Washington State Twin Registry at the College of Medicine.

Epigenetics is the study of how genes express themselves and change throughout a person’s life. The WSU study explores how those changes can be passed down through the generations.

According to Duncan, the use of twins in epigenetic research is vital because it removes the possibility that any difference could be caused by the genes themselves.

“Twins become a very useful model to study epigenetic phenomenon because you have the same genetic material,” Duncan told the Spokesman. “It’s just that those genes may work a little bit different, and so that’s one of the beauties of the twin model.”