Our Genes Are Changing: New Evidence

August 23rd, 2012 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

As readers of these pages know, I always react when people, in discussing obesity, dismiss genetics as a cause with the statement to the effect, ‘our genes just don’t change.’ On other pages, I recite evidence that this just isn’t true. Our genes do change. I also notice that you never hear a genetics expert make this claim. And for a good reason, our knowledge of genetics changes every week.

Now comes a new study using genomic databases from Iceland. The study of 78 trios of mother, father and child, looking for mutations in the child’s genes which were not present in either parent and therefore must have arisen spontaneously in the egg, sperm or embryo. Fathers passed on nearly four times as many new mutations as mothers, 55 v. 14. The older the father, the greater the number of mutations. Most of the mutations may be harmless but some are linked to conditions like autism and schizophrenia. NatureNews:Fathers bequeath more mutations as they age

Maternal obesity and metabolic conditions have been linked to autism in their offspring PubMed: Maternal Metabolic Conditions and risk of autism. Likewise, schizophrenia has been linked to obesity, diabetes and inflammation PubMed: Schizophrenia, metabolic syndrrome and inflammation

Bottom line: while the increasing age of the father may be relevant for autism research, the point for obesity genetics may be that both mothers and fathers pass on spontaneous mutations to their child. Our genes are changing.

 

1 comment

  1. Razwell says:

    Hi, Morgan

    Your blog is beyond good. It’s EXCELLENT and should be read by everybody.

    I sure hope you get a lot of hits because there are so many hucksters out there stigmatizing the obese and spreading nonsense. Your blog dispells their nonsense with links to genuine scientific sources, not sales sites.

    I am happy that people like yourself recognize Dr. Jeffrey Friedman and Dr. Douglas Coleman ( retired) as a cream of the crop researchers.

    Obesity is hellishly complex. I learmed this from Urgelt of YouTube initially. I recommend his obesity video.

    If I can do anything to promote it let me know. Your information MUST be heard by a public who is full of unfounded belief systems.

    Best Wishes,

    Raz

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