Articles that explore the ways in which a mother’s and father’s lifestyle or habits may influence the epigenetic marks and health of their children via generational epigenetic inheritance.

Epigenetic Marks on Histones Keep Egg Cells Fresh

January 9, 2018 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Egg cells, or oocytes, are made inside a female’s body before she is even born and they must be kept in a state of equilibrium or stasis during her childhood. Eventually, they can transition to mature eggs when needed as an adult. If the eggs do not go into stasis, however, they will never be able to eventually form into a baby. New research in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology explores the influence of epigenetics on egg cell stasis and [more…]

Cuddling Can Leave Positive Epigenetic Traces on Your Baby’s DNA

December 12, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

You might be familiar with the popular epigenetic study that suggests when mother rats lick their pups, they leave epigenetic marks on their babies’ DNA. This, in turn, helps them grow up to be calm adults. On the other hand, pups who receive very little licking, grooming, or nursing from their moms tend to grow up more anxious. It wasn’t their genes that dictated their stressed-out behavior, but their epigenome, which was shaped by the nurturing behavior of their mother [more…]

Father’s Exposure to Phthalates Impact Epigenetic Marks on Sperm DNA

October 10, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

New epigenetic research conducted by scientists at the University of Massachusetts suggests that a father’s environment can affect the health of his baby via epigenetic marks in his sperm. Specifically, male exposure to phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors found in plastics, personal care products like shaving cream, and in the environment that surrounds us, were found to have an impact on a couples’ success when having children. Led by Richard Pilsner, an environmental health scientist, this ongoing study supported by [more…]

Vitamin D Adjusts Epigenetic Marks That Could Hinder A Baby’s Health

September 12, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Even though it’s common for expectant mothers to have low vitamin D levels, it’s essential to the health and proper development of the baby. A low amount of vitamin D is associated with poor fetal growth, childhood obesity, bone density, and bone mineral content. Interestingly, key functions of the placenta – like transporting nutrients to the growing baby – are controlled by the expression of genes, which is mediated by vitamin D. Researchers have now discovered that this vitamin might [more…]

Pregnant Moms’ Exposure to Pollution May Epigenetically Increase Child’s Asthma Susceptibility

August 22, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Exposure to environmental pollution, such as diesel exhaust or concentrated urban air particles, during pregnancy could increase a child’s risk of developing asthma via epigenetic mechanisms. Recent research in the Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology suggests that this allergic susceptibility might even be epigenetically passed down for several generations. Asthma forms as a result of the complex interaction between someone’s genes, epigenetic marks, and the environment. Epigenetics, the study of how chemical tags impact the expression [more…]

Epigenetic Profile at Birth Could Predict Behavior Problems Later in Life

June 20, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Marks on a baby’s DNA might be able to predict whether he or she may develop conduct problems later in life, suggests new research published in Development and Psychopathology. Conduct problems — such as lying, stealing, and fighting — fit into a spectrum of behavioral and emotional issues found in youngsters in which basic social rules or the rights of others are violated. These behaviors are known to have a link to genetic factors and environmental influences. Now, there may [more…]

A Child’s Mental Fitness Could Be Epigenetically Influenced by Dad’s Diet

April 18, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

We often think that taking supplements is a good thing – but what if we consume too much? And could doing so negatively affect our children? Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) found that fathers who consumed an excessive amount of certain supplements could epigenetically harm their offspring, affecting their children’s memory and learning ability. As we know, a mother has profound impact on her children and their development. Epigenetic research has shown that mothers can influence [more…]

Cut Out the Hype: Gene Editing With CRISPR and the Truth about Superhuman ‘Designer Babies’

February 28, 2017 Bailey Kirkpatrick

Stories about a mysterious tool that can cut out and replace genes have crept out from behind the lab walls and entered boldly into the public spotlight. Nowadays, CRISPR is everywhere. And we can’t help but let our imaginations wander, especially when the questions posed by this novel gene editing technology come straight out of a sci-fi movie. Can we edit out bad genes that cause diseases in humans and replace them with healthy ones? Might parents be able to [more…]

Demethylating Agent May Boost Chemotherapy Effectiveness for Specific Type of Childhood Leukemia

January 16, 2017 Natalie Crowley

Fifty years ago, a child diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of pediatric cancer, had little to no chance of survival. Today, those odds have increased dramatically thanks to tremendous advances in chemotherapy and other treatments. Cure rates for this type of leukemia can reach as high as 90 percent. Yet, there is one subgroup of pediatric ALL that is still very therapy resistant, T-Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL). T-ALL is an uncommon, though aggressive, subclass of [more…]

Binge Drinking as a Teen May Epigenetically Harm the Health of Future Generations

December 6, 2016 Bailey Kirkpatrick

not only harms your brain and body, but may also epigenetically impact your future children, a new study reports. Excessive drinking in adolescents could turn genes on or off in their offspring’s brain, setting them up for susceptibility to certain diseases. The study, presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting on Nov. 14, 2016, suggests that repeated episodes of excessive drinking when you’re young can actually put your future children at risk for developing disorders such as anxiety, depression, [more…]

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