ip between a mother's diet and the biology of her grandchildren has been mapped to a single gene and a defined diet," said David Martin, M.D., Scientist at CHORI. "Our work provides convincing evidence of complex transgenerational effects of nutrition on health, and provides an experimental model for exploring these relationships in detail."
Avy mice are an excellent system for study because all mice of this strain are genetically identical--as similar to each other as identical twins. However, mouse pups from a single litter differ from each other in their coat color (from yellow to brown), obesity (thinner to fatter), and susceptibility to cancer, and all of these varied traits can be traced back to the Avy version of the agouti gene. The mouse model also suggests that similar things can happen in humans, since our gene characteristics are very similar.
Although this study does not provide any prescriptive advice, it does offer significant evidence that health outcomes may be strongly influenced at the time of birth. "Our study highlights a layer of complexity about human development that needs to be thoroughly investigated," said Kenneth Beckman, Ph.D. Assistant Scientist at CHORI and a member of the Project EXPORT Center of Excellence in Nutritional Genomics, a PROGRAM PROJECT funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. "We found that even when we stopped providing specific supplements during pregnancy, the past effect of supplements persisted. Therefore, it is possible that the maternal diet could have implications that stretch over decades, perhaps even centuries."
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Contact: Diana Yee
Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland
. Doernbecher Childrens Hospital scientist earns coveted Javits award2
. NIH selects Childrens Hospital as Center of Excellence to train future generations of scientists3
. Childrens Hospital Oakland, Calif.s new iron regulation discovery4
. Childrens Hospital researcher leads multipronged attack on infant leukemia5
. Childrens Hospital Oaklands new maternal diet study6
. Childrens Hospital Boston presents at the 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference7
. Genetic research at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh reinforces theory of evolution8
. Childrens Hospital Boston presents at the 2006 Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting9
. UCLA engineering and Mattel Childrens Hospital collaborate to develop childrens heart valve10
. Childrens Hospital Oakland scientist awarded seat on national scientific review board11
. Research center for National Childrens Study to be based in Queens