A child’s DNA depends on length of pregnancy. A new study by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute revealed this after they mapped the relationship between length of pregnancy and DNA changes in newborns.
The researchers found changes in DNA methylation in each week’s longer pregnancy in thousands of genes. Genom Medicine published the research work. Llead researcher Simon Kebede Merid said that the findings indicated that DN changes might influence development of foetal organs.
The study also showed that majority of DNA methylations at birth did not persist into childhood. However, it was stable from birth to adolescence in 17 per cent. Now the researchers have to investigate whether the changes in DNA are linked to health problems of children born prematurely. Epigenetic processes or chemical modification of DNA during foetal period is important for controlling development and growth. DNA methylation is one such epigenetic factor.
The research was done within the international Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics consortium. In the study, the researchers also found mother’s smoking during their pregnancy altered DNA in newborns. Air pollution also affected the genes, the study said. Erik Melén, who was associated with PACE study, said that the findings would contribute to foetal development and better care of premature babies.