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Exposure to metals changes gene regulation in wild great tit populations


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Epigenetic changes are one of the less studied mechanisms via which organisms adapt to environmental changes. Epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation, do not alter DNA sequence, but regulate gene expression. Two new studies showed that nestling exposure to metals, lead and arsenic, alters great tit DNA methylation patterns. This could influence gene expression, and either help to adapt to polluted environments or lead to detrimental, even long-lasting, consequences.

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