New Study Shows Mother’s Pre-conceptional Diet Can Change Infant’s Genes

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It was known to everyone that pregnant woman should be careful about their diet for their coming baby. Recently another study-result says that child’s genes influenced by mother’s food that she had taken before conception and it can play a major role even after the baby is born.

The research was conducted by the scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and it was published in the Journal Natural Communications. The researchers claimed from strong shutterstock_12.7b0f1154045evidence that it can permanently affect the child’s lifelong heath by silencing certain genes.

For doing research, scientists collected blood samples from 167 pregnant women from rural Gambia, measured nutrient concentration in their blood, and also took blood sample from their infants of two to eight months and analyzed their blood and hair follicle.

Out of 167 women about half (84) conceived at the peak of rainy season and the other half (83) conceived at the peak dry season. The women who conceived in rainy season consumed more vitamin-rich diet from those who conceived in dry season.

The women took different food in different seasons and the nutrient availability was also different. So, it was easy to research what types of diet was taken by the women and what was its effect to their babies.

Researchers found that what woman ate affected the process of gene expression in their children. This process is called methylation. It is known for blocking genes in the ‘off’ position.
The process of methylation has important role in silencing gene expression – which is essential for cell differentiation plays and embryonic development.

As for example, a separate animal study has shown that a female mouse’s diet can change her offspring’s coat color when DNA methylation is modified.

Andrew Prentice, co-author of the study, said, “Our ongoing research is yielding strong indications that the methylation machinery can be disrupted by nutrient deficiencies and that this can lead to disease,” He also said, “Our ultimate goal is to define an optimal diet for mothers-to-be that would prevent defects in the methylation process. Pre-conceptional folic acid is already used to prevent defects in embryos. Now our research is pointing towards the need for a cocktail of nutrients, which could come from the diet or from supplements.”

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