In Reply There are 2 important comments made by Yeo et al1 about our article published in JAMA Pediatrics.2 First, the authors raise the possibility that “the differences observed might not be related to environmental influence on gene expression, but rather reflect the options available to the individual for gaining reward.”1 This is an interesting possibility; however, our finding of opposite behavior within the same social class does not support this idea. We showed that carriers of the 7-repeat allele raised in low socioeconomic statuses (and therefore exposed to poor healthy options such as fatty comfort foods) ate more fat than the noncarriers from the same social extract, who were equally exposed to fatty foods. This is also true for the high–socioeconomic status girls, in whom the difference in alleles was linked to high or low fat intake within the same social class.2 Therefore, under the same variety of rewarding options in a given environment (low or high socioeconomic status), 7-repeat carriers and noncarriers behaved in opposite ways. Regardless of the nature of rewards available in the environment, our theorizing is that the genetic background makes individuals more “open” to these environmental conditions,3 either obesogenic or protective.
Silveira PP, Meaney MJ, Dubé L. DRD4, Income, and Children’s Food ChoicesPlasticity Allele or Different Opportunities?—Reply. JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(8):810-811. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.1043