Navigation Links
Symposium highlights epigenetic effects of milk

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."


Contact: Madeline McCurry-Schmidt
American Society of Animal Science

Related biology news :

1. 5th Annual Advances in Biomolecular Engineering Symposium
2. Science, Innovation, and Partnerships for Sustainability -- Symposium May 16-18
3. Coral reef experts to present latest coral reef science during July symposium
4. FirstMark Exhibiting and Presenting at the San Diego Academy of Family Physicians 55th Annual Postgraduate Symposium
5. Topics to be discussed during July International Coral Reef Symposium
6. MARC Travel Awards announced for the 26th Annual Symposium of the Protein Society
7. The genomics symposium to boost the further development of cancer research
8. 12th International Coral Reef Symposium
9. Symposium: Protein-Folding Diseases: Models & Mechanisms
10. FDAs 2012 Science Writers Symposium
11. Danforth Plant Science Center hosts 14th Annual Fall Symposium
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/26/2015)... PUNE, India , October 26, ... --> --> ... Forecasts 2015 to 2021 as well ... Analysis 2015-2019 research reports to its ... . ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... 2015  Delta ID Inc., a company focused on ... PC devices, announced its ActiveIRIS® technology powers the iris ... launched by NTT DOCOMO, INC in Japan ... smartphone to include iris recognition technology, after a very ... in May 2015, world,s first smartphone to have this ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... and GOLETA, California , October 23, ... BIOPAC and SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) announce a mobile plug ... data captured during interactive real-world tasks SensoMotoric ... integration of their established wearable solutions for eye tracking ... gaze behavior captured with SMI Eye Tracking Glasses ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 SHPG ) announced today that ... Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in New ... 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ) ... participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference ... December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: ... the remaining 11,000 post-share consolidation (or 1,100,000 pre-share ... "Series B Warrants") subject to the previously disclosed ... 23, 2015, which will result in the issuance ... to the issuance of such shares, there will ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier of easy-to-use solutions for production, culture, and ... as Chief Operating Officer. , Having joined InSphero in November 2013 as ... promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in 2014. There she has built up ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today ... Officer, is scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper ... a.m. EST, at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel ... . --> . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: