Caffeine and Alcohol May Change DNA

by Natalie Jacobs January 17, 2014
 

 

A group of researchers at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, led by Professor Martin Kupiec have discovered that coffee and beer both affect the human genome in opposite ways. Working with a kind of yeast that shares genetic similarities with humans, the researchers found that caffeine shortens and alcohol lengthens the end points of chromosomal DNA, the part implicated in aging and cancer.

“For the first time, we’ve identified a few environmental factors that alter telomere length, and we’ve shown how they do it,” Kupiec said. “What we learned may one day contribute to the prevention and treatment of human diseases.”

While this is a big first step, more laboratory work is needed to prove a causal relationship not a mere correlation between telomere length and aging or cancer, according to the researchers.

“For now,” Kupiec said, “try to relax and drink a little coffee and a little beer.”

To read more about this and other research conducted at Tel Aviv University, visit aftau.org.

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