Women in the first months of pregnancy or planning to conceive soon put their children at risk of developing obesity, as well as diabetes.
Scientists from the University of Manchester conducted a study on pregnant female laboratory rats. In the first group of animals, during the planning of pregnancy and in the first months, the amount of food was reduced; in the second group of mammals, the diet did not change.
After the babies were born, the researchers examined their brain tissues for any pathological changes in the DNA strand.
It was found that the offspring of rodents who were on a diet in the study, had some changes in the structure of DNA, which the authors of the study correlated with an increased risk of overweight, obesity and diabetes in the future, when the offspring become adults. Meanwhile, no such changes were found in the cubs of female rodents, who ate normally during preparation for pregnancy and in its first trimester.
It is worth noting that the detected violations did not affect the genetic code itself, but the so-called gene expression – the process by which hereditary information from a gene is converted into a functional product – protein or RNA. In addition, the study showed that these pathological changes are not hereditary, that is, they are not inherited from the parents of the offspring.