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Thompson says America must "unchoose" policies that have led to mass incarceration

Axinn says new data on campus rape will "allow students to see for themselves the full extent of this problem"

Frey says white population is growing in Detroit and other large cities


Susan Murphy to speak at U-M kickoff for data science initiative, Oct 6, Rackham

Andrew Goodman-Bacon, former trainee, wins 2015 Nevins Prize for best dissertation in economic history

Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 5 at noon, 6050 ISR
Colter Mitchell: Biological consequences of poverty


Children's telomere length and social disadvantage

4/18/2014 feature story

Colter Mitchell and colleagues found that 9-year olds growing up in highly disadvantaged environments had shorter telomeres than their highly advantaged counterparts, with genetic sensitivity having a moderating effect.

More Information.

Colter Mitchell

Publication Information:

Mitchell, Colter, John Hobcraft, Sara McLanahan, Susan Rutherford Siegel, Arthur Berg, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Irwin Garfinkel, and Daniel Notterman. 2014. "Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children’s telomere length." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(16): 5944-5949. PMCID: PMC4000782.

Disadvantaged social environments are associated with adverse health outcomes. This has been attributed, in part, to chronic stress. Telomere length (TL) has been used as a biomarker of chronic stress: TL is shorter in adults in a variety of contexts, including disadvantaged social standing and depression. Using data from 40, 9-year-old boys participating in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we show that those who grow up in highly disadvantaged environments have shorter telomeres than boys who grow up in highly advantaged environments. We also find that the association between the social environment and TL is moderated by genetic variation within the serotonin and dopamine pathways. Boys with the highest genetic sensitivity scores had the shortest TL when exposed to disadvantaged environments and the longest TL when exposed to advantaged environments. To our knowledge, this report is the first to document a gene–social environment interaction for TL, a biomarker of stress exposure.

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