Genetics news & views from students enrolled in BIOL 2110 at Stockton University.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Smoking alters fetus DNA
When a woman is pregnant, it is common knowledge that she should not engage in drinking alcohol or smoking. There is new evidence that discloses the fact that when a pregnant women smokes, the fetus' DNA is altered. Scientists also found that some new development-related genes were caused by the mother's smoking habit.
In a study conducted by the American Journal of Human Genetics, blood samples were taken from newborn's and compared to babies of nonsmoker mothers. The DNA of the smoke babies had over 6,000 areas in which the DNA was modified from the tobacco. About 3,000 could be directly linked to lung and nervous system developmental problems as well as birth defects and cancers. These modified pieces of DNA were still present in older children of smoking mothers.
It is truely disgusting for a mother to knowingly put her unborn child at risk for many diseases and health complications down the road. These children are born with health complications which can last a lifetime. However, these studies bring the science community much closer into evalutating exactly which genes are affected and potentially how to treat children of mothers who smoked while pregnant.