Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Active Mothers Possibly Able to Produce Active Offspring?
A recent study shows it could be possible that offspring born to mothers who are active during pregnancy will be active as adults as well. Researchers put genetically identical female mice in cages with running wheels and then matched them with males from the same line for breeding. After they become pregnant, half of the mice were given wheels to run on and the other half weren't. The baby mice were born and then separated from their mothers so they could not have learned their behavior. When the mice become adolescents, they were placed in cages with running wheels and their running activity was monitored. The mice born to active mothers became active themselves and put in more time on the running wheel than the mice born to mothers who didn't run. This difference grew more as the mice aged, despite all of them being in the same environment and genetically identical.
According to a theory known as "developmental programming," fetus DNA can be altered by the surroundings it experiences in the womb and shortly after it is born. For instance, in this experiment baby mice born to mothers who were inactive during pregnancy are more likely to be overweight and unhealthy as adults. The results show that a mother's physical activity while she is pregnant can likely affect the physical activity of her children in their adulthood. Scientists don't know how to explain how being active while pregnant affects a baby's physical activity later on, but one belief is that biochemicals released during exercise are transferred through the placenta and affect the baby's genes for the rest of its life.
I believe that this experiment was very well done and can provide useful information to expecting mothers. I think that for it to be more viable, more research must be done. Mice and humans obviously have a different genetic template, but it's a good start. They're both mammals, but human beings are more capable of reasoning and decision making.