Are there any studies of epigenetic difference between twins during their lifespan ? I ask because I wonder if there exist phases during lifespan, when environmental factors plays major role (expecially in early adulthood) - twins study should allow to distinguish between changes in epigenetic profile caused by external factors and that from "inner dynamics" of organism.


I would think there have to be, though do you mean collecting samples on a regular basis and plotting out the difference at each point? Or do you simply mean the total accumulated change. If it is the latter, the answer is certainly "yes". You have probably seen the Nova documentary "Ghost in Your Genes" (The US, not BBC one). In it they show comparison of accumulated epigenetic change between a pair of identical twin Spanish women. I'm guessing you are more looking at measuring this change on a regular basis and looking for points of rapid divergence.... I don't know if this has been done for individuals, but it appears that it has been done for sample sets (see the same documentary). They discuss accumulated genetic change in younger twins vs older ones...

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  • $\begingroup$ Great ! I think similar, regular studies are going to come, but can you write more on the latter case, for example about rate of epigenetic changes ? $\endgroup$ – Qbik Feb 28 '13 at 15:21
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    $\begingroup$ I have seen "Ghost in Your Genes". Excellent doc, which, in part, got me thinking about this (yes the Spanish twins in particular). I was meaning more systematically through life (testing at regular intervals). In the documentary, the observations seemed a bit less pre-defined. On a related note, could anyone point me to the specific methodologies for assessing whole-genome epigenetic differences? $\endgroup$ – single_digit Mar 19 '13 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ good question, ask it but not as a comment $\endgroup$ – Qbik Mar 19 '13 at 22:07

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