As Wall Street collapsed the United States was faced with the threat of yet another social and political crisis which could have prompted a national uprising against capitalism. During October 1929, the United States economic system was plunged into an unprecedented depression where tens of millions were thrown out of work and their homes. In the South, the African American people living in major cities, small towns and rural areas were impacted more than any other demographic inside the country. The Great Depression began under the leadership of Republican President Herbert Hoover who refused to initiate any major policy reforms to seriously mitigate the rising tide of joblessness, foreclosures, evictions and food deficits.
Did the Great Depression of 1929 have an impact on people’s genetics? This sounds an enthralling question and scientists have now found more information on this issue. In research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), it was reported that the economic recession impacted how people would age, even before they are born. The findings suggest that the cells of those conceived during the Great Depression show signs of faster ageing. The question arises as to how the scientists map the genes of people conceived almost a century ago and how did they come to this conclusion? The answer lies in a field of genetics known as Epigenetics. This refers to how the environment shapes genetic expression.