If you have had a pregnancy earlier that you thought was the healthiest you could ever have and gave birth to a premature baby, blame your mother or grandmother for it. A recent study claims that mothers and grandmothers can pass on the epigenetic effects of stress to their kids just like their own characteristics and genes.
Gerlinde Metz from University of Lethbridge in Canada, said, “"We show that stress across generations becomes powerful enough to shorten pregnancy length in rats and induce hallmark features of human preterm birth”. The current study turns out to have yielded surprising findings. According to its results, mild to moderate stress at the time of pregnancy had a compounding effect across all generations. The effects of stress thus, were seen to grow larger with each generation.
The researchers had, for the study, examined length of pregnancies in rats because usually, there isn’t much variation between them. The first generation of rats were subjected to stress quite late in their pregnancy. Then, the two generations that followed were split into two groups that were either stressed or not stressed.
The daughters of the stressed rats had shorter pregnancies compared with the daughters of those who had not been stressed. It was revealed that the grand-daughters of stressed rats underwent shorter pregnancy even when their mothers were not really stressed. The researchers are of the view that these changes were as a result of epigenetics, which is the arrangement as well as expression of the genes.
The study has been published in the journal BMC medicine.
Article source: IANSlive
Image courtesy: Getty
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