Childhood is a defining period in anybody's life, but for many of us it seems those early life experiences could change the body right down to a genetic level.
Researchers can now accurately predict whether a handful of genes responsible for regulating inflammation are altered by identifying key childhood events, suggesting the illnesses we get later in life could be the result of events in our formative years.
A team of scientists from Northwestern University in the US analysed over a hundred genes associated with inflammation, looking for hints of epigenetic changes.
They were led by suspicions that links between childhood environments and differences in inflammation processes could come down to the genes themselves.
While our genome's DNA sequence is more or less locked in at conception, we've understood for some time that individual genes can continue to be modified through processes we refer to as epigenetic.