Many genomic studies have failed to describe how some diseases are being inherited from the womb. Diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity remain unexplained on their inheritance pattern, and now researchers have shifted their attention to a whole different area that might influence diseases.
The environment in the womb is dependent on the mother’s habits before and during the pregnancy. The influence of the environment on genes is called ‘epigenetics’ and is now being considered a cause for many inherited diseases in babies.
How the mother’s diet influences her child
ProfesorVardhmanRakyan, lead researcher from theQueen Mary University of London has conducted a research and reached some interesting conclusions. The team has suggested that many genetic explanations for disease occurrence might be missing a big part of the puzzle because they are more focused on a single copy part of the genome called the DNA.
These studies have till now missed the tremendous effect that the rDNA or ribosomal-DNA has in genetic variation. The child’s epigenetic profile within the womb responds strongly according to the conditions in the uterus.
An experiment on mice showed that when the mother was kept at a pregnancy diet that was low in protein (8%) resulted in smaller offspring. This direct effect on the offspring’s weight and theepigenetic structure was more profound than the effect of the offspring’s own dietary pattern.
Although pregnancy is often driven by strong cravings for particular types of food, it is strongly advised by all doctors that the mothers try and control the cravings. Sticking with a healthy dietary pattern filled with objects full of fresh vegetables and fruits are a good advice. Avoiding smoking and drinking is the number one rule for all expecting mothers. Have lots of juice and water to stay hydrated and remember to include high-fiber and protein-rich foods regularly.
Diseases that can be inherited
Type-2 diabetes is a common problem that many individuals face during their adult lives. Researchers have already found that this disease is an inherited disorder, but have till now been unclear on how. After many studies on thegenome of the mother, the scientists were somehow able to puts bits and pieces together about the genetic process that underlines this disease. The disease has a heritability of 25-80% but genome studies could only account for 20% cases. With the unveiling of how rDNA play a major role in disease inheritance, the missing parts of the puzzles may finally be fitting in.
Another issue that is troubling the modern world that might be explained by the environment of the womb and epigenetic in rRNA is obesity.
The effect of the father’s and grandparent’s health on a child
Researchers have found that diet and nutrition of both mother and father have a direct effect on quality of eggs and sperms, respectively. Once the changes have been induced and incorporated into the genome, they can easily be passed on to the offspring when such individuals procreate. These changes might not affect the mother or the father, but they tend to produce deducible diseases in the child. Once induced, a change can travel in the progeny to your grandchildren as well.
Such cases have been reported in the past multiple times. The most common example is the children born to Dutch mothers at the end of the Second World War. The offspring showed greater risks of developing cardiovascular diseases and glucoseintolerance in the later years of their lives. The magnitude of the effect was related directly to how far the mother was, in her pregnancy, when the great famine hit Dutch.
To make sure your child stays free of inheritable diseases, make sure to keep your diet rich in all essential elements and stay miles away from alcohol or any other form of intoxication.