Father’s age and other lifestyle factors can cause birth defects in children as well as in future generations to come, warns a new research.
The nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently has been previously known to alter the organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her babies.
The team reviewed past research that focused on how a man’s lifestyle could cause epigenetic changes in his sperm’s DNA that could eventually affect his kid’s genome.
“Our study shows that fathers’ lifestyle, and how old he is, can be reflected in molecules that control the gene function,” said Joanna Kitlinska, associate professor at Georgetown University in the US.
“In this way, a father can affect not only his immediate offspring, but future generations as well,” Kitlinska added in the paper published in the American Journal of Stem Cells.
The findings showed that the advanced age of a father can elevate the rates of schizophrenia and autism in his children, the researchers said. Also, the diet pattern of a man during his pre-adolescence can reduce or increase the risk of cardiovascular death in his children and grandchildren.
Paternal obesity has been linked to enlarged fat cells, changes in metabolic regulation, diabetes, obesity and development of brain cancer. Further, psychosocial stress on the father can cause defective behavioral traits in his kids.
“This new field of inherited paternal epigenetic needs to be organized into clinically applicable recommendations and lifestyle alternations,” Kitlinska said adding, “to really understand the epigenetic influences of a child, we need to study the interplay between maternal and paternal effects, as opposed to considering each in isolation.