Your Diet Affects Your Grandchildren’s DNA, Scientists Say
And, according toِ two newِ genetic studies, youِ areِ what yourِ mother, father, grandparents andِ great-grandparents ate, too.
Diet, beِ it poor orِ healthy, canِ so alter theِ nature ofِ one’s DNA thatِ those changesِ canِ beِ passed onِ to theِ progeny.
While thisِ muchِ hasِ beenِ speculated forِ years, researchers inِ two independent studies haveِ foundِ ways inِ which thisِ likelyِ isِ happening.
Different fromِ a mutation, epigenetic changesِ lie notِ inِ the DNA itselfِ butِ rather inِ its surroundings — theِ enzymes andِ other chemicals thatِ orchestrate howِ a DNA molecule unwinds itsِ various sections toِ makeِ proteins orِ evenِ new cells.
Recent studies haveِ shown howِ nutrition dramatically alters theِ health andِ appearance ofِ otherwise identical mice.
A group led byِ Randy Jirtle ofِ Duke University demonstrated howِ mouse clones implanted asِ embryos inِ separate mothers willِ haveِ radical differences inِ fur color, weight, andِ risk forِ chronic diseases depending onِ what thatِ mother wasِ fed duringِ pregnancy.
Of mice and humans
Building uponِ thisِ Duke University work, a newِ study led byِ Torsten Plösch ofِ University ofِ Groningen, The Netherlands, delineated theِ numerous ways inِ which nutrition alters theِ epigenome ofِ manyِ animals, including adult humans.
Jiménez-Chillarón ofِ the Paediatric Hospital Sant Joan de Deu, inِ Spain.
Unlike a gene mutation, allِ of theِ epigenetic inputs toِ theِ DNA environment shouldِ beِ forgotten whenِ a newly formed embryo begins toِ divide.
Attack on the DNA
A secondِ study, led inِ part byِ Ram B.
Singh ofِ the TsimTsoum Institute inِ Krakow, Poland, published thisِ month inِ the Canadian Journal ofِ Physiology andِ Pharmacology, examined nutrients thatِ affect theِ chromatin.
It isِ possible thatِ eating moreِ omega-3 fatty acids, choline, betaine, folic acid andِ vitamin B12, byِ mothers andِ fathers, possibly canِ alter chromatin state andِ mutations, asِ well asِ have beneficial effects…leading toِ birth ofِ a ‘super baby’ withِ long life andِ lower risk] ofِ diabetes andِ metabolic syndrome, Singh told LiveScience.