Navigation Links
You are what your father eats
Date:12/10/2013

Mothers get all the attention. But a study led by McGill researcher Sarah Kimmins suggests that the father's diet before conception may play an equally important role in the health of their offspring. It also raises concerns about the long-term effects of current Western diets and of food insecurity.

The research focused on vitamin B9, also called folate, which is found in a range of green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruit and meats. It is well known that in order to prevent miscarriages and birth defects mothers need to get adequate amounts of folate in their diet. But the way that a father's diet can influence the health and development of their offspring has received almost no attention. Now research from the Kimmins group shows for the first time that the father's folate levels may be just as important to the development and health of their offspring as are those of the mother. Indeed, the study suggests that fathers should pay as much attention to their lifestyle and diet before they set out to conceive a child as mothers do.

"Despite the fact that folic acid is now added to a variety of foods, fathers who are eating high-fat, fast food diets or who are obese may not be able to use or metabolize folate in the same way as those with adequate levels of the vitamin," says Kimmins. "People who live in the Canadian North or in other parts of the world where there is food insecurity may also be particularly at risk for folate deficiency. And we now know that this information will be passed on from the father to the embryo with consequences that may be quite serious."

The researchers arrived at this conclusion by working with mice, and comparing the offspring of fathers with insufficient folate in their diets with the offspring of fathers whose diets contained sufficient levels of the vitamin. They found that paternal folate deficiency was associated with an increase in birth defects of various kinds in the offspring, compared to the offspring of mice whose fathers were fed a diet with sufficient folate.

"We were very surprised to see that there was an almost 30 per cent increase in birth defects in the litters sired by fathers whose levels of folates were insufficient," said Dr. Romain Lambrot, of McGill's Dept. of Animal Science, one of the researchers who worked on the study. "We saw some pretty severe skeletal abnormalities that included both cranio-facial and spinal deformities."

The research from the Kimmins' group shows that there are regions of the sperm epigenome that are sensitive to life experience and particularly to diet. And that this information is in turn transferred to a so-called epigenomic map that influences development and may also influence metabolism and disease in the offspring in the long-term. (The epigenome is like a switch, which is affected by environmental cues, and is involved in many diseases including cancer and diabetes. The epigenome influences the way that genes are turned on or off, and hence how heritable information gets passed along).

Although it has been known for some time that there is a massive erasure and re-establishment that takes place in the epigenome as the sperm develops, this study now shows that along with the developmental map, the sperm also carries a memory of the father's environment and possibly even of his diet and lifestyle choices.

"Our research suggests that fathers need to think about what they put in their mouths, what they smoke and what they drink and remember they are caretakers of generations to come," said Kimmins. "If all goes as we hope, our next step will be to work with collaborators at a fertility clinic so that we can start assessing the links in men between diet, being overweight and how this information relates to the health of their children."


'/>"/>

Contact: Katherine Gombay
katherine.gombay@mcgill.ca
514-398-2189
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. First paternity study of southern right whales finds local fathers most successful
2. Happy Fathers Day! Another reason why dads and hopeful dads should quit smoking now
3. The old primates club: Even male monkeys ride their fathers coattails to success
4. Penn Study shows resistance to cocaine addiction may be passed down from father to son
5. Common genetic disease linked to fathers age
6. Obese male mice father offspring with higher levels of body fat
7. Gene mutations caused by a fathers lifestyle can be inherited by multiple generations
8. Sons of cocaine-using fathers may resist addiction to drug, Penn Medicine study suggests
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
You are what your father eats
(Date:6/27/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... to their offering. The report ... to grow at a CAGR of 12.28% during the period 2016-2020. ... in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers ... The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016 On Monday, the Department of ... to share solutions for the Biometric Exit Program. The ... Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends to add ... the United States , in order to ... imposters. Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382209LOGO ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Market size is expected to reach USD ... report by Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation ... and banking applications are expected to drive the ... ) , The development of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 2, 2016  The Multiple Myeloma ... from the MMRF CoMMpass Study SM —the largest and ... precision medicine in multiple myeloma—will be presented at the ... Meeting & Exposition in San Diego ... to optimize treatment strategies, as well as identify pathways ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... share findings demonstrating the value of DNA microarray comparative genomic hybridization (array ... San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Using molecular test results from tumors with ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Orthogonal, a Chicago-based medical device software company, ... 510(k) clearance for their flagship medical device, SimplECG. , With this FDA approval, ... rely on cloth-based nanosensors. While other companies have attempted to focus on wearable ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Laboratories, a world leader in rapid infectious disease tests, introduced the Company,s newest product, ... (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161201/444905 ) Continue Reading ... ... , , bioLytical was invited by ... the INSTI HIV Self Test to 350 pharmacy representatives in Nairobi ...
Breaking Biology Technology: