Parents' lifestyle strains the genes: obesity and diabetes are inheritable

Parents' lifestyle strains the genes: obesity and diabetes are inheritable

Studies: Obesity and diabetes apparently inheritable
It has long been known that expectant mothers should eat healthy and not smoke in order to avoid health risks for the child. However, scientific studies meanwhile show that this is not enough for a long time. The lifestyle before conception can influence the offspring.

Expectant parents should live healthy before conception
It has long been known that expectant mothers should live as healthy as possible so as not to endanger their child. So there are recommendations on what may or may not be on the menu during pregnancy. In addition, a tobacco and alcohol taboo applies. ("Https://ösungen-alkohol-tabu-fuer-muetter-ist-vielen-unbekannt-2015053137364") However, scientific studies have now indicated that following this advice is not sufficient . As the dpa news agency reports, the eating behavior of the father also affects the offspring before they are conceived and the lifestyle of the parents as a whole. Obesity and type 2 diabetes can therefore be inherited. The risk of asthma in children is also increased if the fathers were smokers during conception.

Inheritance from generation to generation
It is said that smoking or eating a fat and unhealthy diet may not change the genes themselves, but the mode of action and regulation of certain gene sequences are affected - and these epigenetic factors are also hereditary. Thomas Meitinger, head of the Institute of Human Genetics at the Munich University Clinic on the right bank of the Isar, said in the agency announcement: "There is no doubt that not only the pure gene sequences, but also the range of gene regulations are passed on from generation to generation animal experiments. Studies in humans are much more difficult, not least because of the long generation times.

Maternal influence is greater when overweight
So far, the influence of the paternal side has mainly been investigated by scientists. If only because sperm are easier to collect and examine than egg cells. A study with mice now published in the journal "Nature Genetics" shows that the maternal influence in obesity and diet-related diabetes is even greater than that of the father. "The constitution of the parents at the time before pregnancy is transferred to the next generation," explained Martin Hrabě de Angelis, the initiator of the study and director of the Institute for Experimental Genetics (IEG) at Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Father's high fat diet with negative effects
Although the rule of thumb "fat parents, fat children" is known, the argument of many fat people that it is "due to the genes" was too often used as an excuse. "It is now clear that this is really mediated through the germ cells," says Hrabě de Angelis. "The effect is massive, at least in animal experiments." He went on to say: "This could be another reason for the epidemic-like increase in type 2 diabetes." The increase worldwide can hardly be explained by the change in DNA itself. "The increase is progressing too quickly for this." Only a few months ago, US researchers had reported in the science journal about an investigation with male mice, which showed that a high-fat diet of the father can negatively affect the metabolism of the offspring. Scientists from Copenhagen had previously shown that the susceptibility to overweight can also be passed on to the next generation in humans. In both cases, the researchers found epigenetic changes in sperm, such as regulating genes to control appetite.

Children of ex-smokers also have a higher risk of asthma
Furthermore, a study by the Norwegian university in Bergenwies showed that children of ex-smokers have a significantly higher risk of asthma, even if the fathers stopped the vein long before conception. Accordingly, those who smoked for more than ten years prior to conception increased their children's asthma risk by 50 percent. According to the dpa, the scientists in Munich were now using animals that had become overweight due to high-fat food and had developed type 2 diabetes. Their descendants are reported to have been conceived using artificial insemination and carried out by surrogate mothers. Factors such as the nutrition of the embryo in the uterus of a fat mother with metabolic disorders, but also her behavior during pregnancy and when nursing were excluded. “We see that there is a massive influence on the next generation that can only be mediated through the germ cells. And we see different effects when it comes to the maternal and paternal side, ”said Hrabě de Angelis.

A good lifestyle pays off for the descendants
The study leader Johannes Beckers said that Darwin already included in his theories about inheritance and evolution the possibility that parents could pass on acquired traits to their offspring in the course of their life. It is also believed that even psychological strains such as war trauma or genealogical crimes will live on in the next generation. A few years ago, US scientists from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta showed in mice that negative experiences of grandparents affect the behavior and central nervous structures of the grandchildren. The animal grandchildren inherit the psychological burden.

The rodents learned by electric shock that the smell of acetophenone bodes ill. As the researchers reported, the grandchildren flinched at the sweet smell, even though they received no electric shocks. Conversely, if parents' unhealthy behavior has an impact on the generations, it should mean that a good lifestyle pays off for the offspring. In contrast to genetic inheritance, epigenetic inheritance is basically reversible. With an appropriate lifestyle, obesity and type 2 diabetes could decrease again over the generations. Hrabě de Angelis said: "That gives hope." (Ad)

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