Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Symposium Highlights Epigenetic Effects of Milk

Published: Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Bookmark and Share
It seems the ads were right. A milk mustache is a good thing to have. Animal and dairy scientists have discovered that drinking milk at an early age can help mammals throughout their lives.

But understanding exactly how milk affects the body is a complicated story of hormones, antibodies and proteins, as well as other cells and compounds researchers have not yet identified.

Learning how milk affects offspring was the subject of the Lactation Biology Symposium, held as part of the 2012 Joint Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ. The presentations were summarized in a recent paper in the Journal of Animal Science.

The presentations focused on epigenetics, or how gene expression changes based on factors like environment or diet. Epigenetic changes modify when or how certain traits are expressed.

The first presenter, Dr. Frank Bartol from Auburn University, explained how certain hormones, called lactocrines, in pig’s milk affect gene expression in piglets. Bartol said lactrocrines could modify gene expression in the reproductive systems; however, Bartol said the specific effects of lactocrines are still being studied.

In the next presentation, Dr. Harald Hammon, from the Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology, explained how drinking milk affects future nutrition. According to Hammon, the milk produced in the first few days after birth, called colostrum, contains growth factors that help young calves better digest and absorb lactose and glucose. Hammon called for more research into identifying these factors and better describing their effects.

Studying milk is important not just for studying future fertility and nutrition, but future milk production as well. Dr. Paul Kenyon, from Massey University in New Zealand, suggested that either underfeeding or overfeeding milk could reduce milk production in the offspring. Though the differences in milk yield were small, there could still be an economic difference for dairy farmers.

The research presented at the Lactation Biology Symposium could have implications for human health as well. Dr. Katie Hinde, from Harvard University, revealed how the components of mother’s milk could alter infant behavior and cell development through epigenetic mechanisms. In Hinde’s studies of rhesus monkeys, infants who had mothers producing milk higher in milk energy and cortisol were more active, playful, exploratory and bold.

“Milk is, therefore, not merely food that allows the body to grow but it contains constituents that help build the brain and provide the energy that allows infants to be behaviorally active,” wrote K. M. Daniels et. al. in a review of the Lactation Biology Symposium.

Research into milk could help researchers better understand farm animals, the dairy industry and human health. Figuring out which compounds are found in milk and how they affect gene expression in offspring could advance knowledge in body development at all stages of life.

“At present there are far more questions than answers,” Bartol said in an interview. “However, we are making progress.”

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Fixing Holes in the Heart Without Invasive Surgery
UV-light enabled catheter is a medical device which represents a major shift in how cardiac defects are repaired.
Chromosomal Chaos
Penn study forms basis for future precision medicine approaches for Sezary syndrome
Enzyme Malfunction May be Why Binge Drinking Can Lead to Alcoholism
A new study in mice shows that restoring the synthesis of a key brain chemical tied to inhibiting addictive behavior may help prevent alcohol cravings following binge drinking.
Key to Natural Detoxifier’s Reactivity Discovered
Results have implications for health, drug design and chemical synthesis.
New Treatment for Obesity Developed
Researchers at the University of Liverpool, working with a global healthcare company, have helped develop a new treatment for obesity.
New Protein Found in Immune Cells
Immunobiologists from the University of Freiburg discover Kidins220/ARMS in B cells and demonstrate its functions.
Will Brain Palpation Soon Be Possible?
Researchers have developed non-invasive brain imaging technique which provides the same information as physical palpation.
Shaking Up the Foundations of Epigenetics
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the University of Barcelona (UB) published a study that challenges some of the current beliefs about epigenetics.
Groundbreaking Computer Program Diagnoses Cancer in Two Days
Researchers have combined genetics with computer science and created a new diagnostic technology can with 85 per cent certainty identify the source of the disease and thus target treatment and, ultimately, improve the prognosis for the patient.
Michigan Researchers Use Raman Spectroscopy
inVia confocal Raman microscope used in the study of various childhood diseases.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos