Muscles Remember Their Past Growth, and Scientists Can Document It

Scientists in Keele University have discovreed that muscles actually contain withn them “memories” of how much they had grown in the past.  The genes have special chemical tags that go “marked” or “unmarked” according to past growth.  The revelation could lead to changes in how athletes train, how therapy is conducted after injuries and even for detecting cheating among athletes.

Human Muscles Possess ‘Memory’ of Earlier Growth — at DNA Level: Study

Using the latest genome wide techniques, Keele University researcher Adam Sharples and colleagues studied over 850,000 sites on human DNA and discovered the genes ‘marked’ or ‘unmarked’ with special chemical ‘tags’ when muscle grows following exercise, then returns back to normal and then grows again following exercise in later life.

Known as epigenetic modifications, these ‘markers’ or ‘tags’ tell the gene whether it should be active or inactive, providing instructions to the gene to turn on or off without changing the DNA itself.

“In this study, we’ve demonstrated the genes in muscle become more untagged with this epigenetic information when it grows following exercise in earlier life,” Dr. Sharples said.

“Importantly, these genes remain untagged even when we lose muscle again, but this untagging helps ‘switch’ the gene on to a greater extent and is associated with greater muscle growth in response to exercise in later life — demonstrating an epigenetic memory of earlier life muscle growth.”

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, has important implications in how athletes train, recover from injury, and also has potentially far-reaching consequences for athletes caught cheating.



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