It's called epigenetics: how environmental factors interact with the genome to affect a child's health. And the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Genome B.C. have awarded $2 million in funding to find out how this might be contributing to asthma in children.
The principal investigator is Dr. Stuart Turvey, a UBC professor of medicine, pediatric immunologist, and director of clinical research at B.C. Children's Hospital.
"This research will help us learn about the changes that we can make to a child's environment to reduce their susceptibility to disease," Turvey said in a news release.
The researchers will rely on data and samples from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longtitudinal Development study. It has collected information from more than 3,500 mothers and children.
According to the news release, this research will "build on" previous work at UBC and B.C. Children's Hospital looking at connections between bacteria in the gut and asthma.
The earlier research, led by UBC microbiologist Brett Finlay, found that infants with Faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Veillonella, and Rothia were less likely to develop the condition.