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If dad-to-be smokes DNA damage may pass to kids

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Sunday, July 22, 2012 | 0 comments

my dad with cigarette - Stock Photo credit: theRIAA“Fathers who smoke pass on damaged DNA to their children – raising the risk of cancer,” the Daily Mail has warned.

The Mail’s story was based on a small study of predominantly Greek families, whose lifestyle and genetic make-up were analyzed to detect whether parental smoking before and during pregnancy led to DNA damage in their newborn babies.

Mothers smoking during pregnancy and fathers smoking before pregnancy were the two most relevant factors to predicting the level of genetic damage in the newborn.

The Mail’s suggestion that this DNA damage could increase the child’s risk of cancer is slightly misleading. This study did not investigate whether the DNA damage had any effect on the infants’ cancer risk, or their risk of any other disease.

Smoking during pregnancy is already known to harm the unborn child. This study suggests that fathers who smoke regularly before conception may also damage their children (at a genetic level), but stops short of proving this or demonstrating how paternal smoking may affect the health of the infant.

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Photo credit: theRIAA
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Catherine

About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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