Increased levels of estrogen and high-fat during pregnancy can lead to a higher risk of breast cancer for your female offspring for generations, a new study from researchers at Virginia Tech and Georgetown University shows.
Lead researcher Yue Wang of Virginia Tech and his staff examined the effect of pregnant rats who were fed a diet with increased levels of synthetic estrogen and high fats. They found three generations of female offspring from these rats had a genetically increased risk of breast cancer.
According to the team, the risk is passed down not simply through DNA, but through a variation in the way DNA is decoded, making the cancer hereditary.
"We have shown for the first time that altered DNA methylations modulated by specific diet in normal development are heritable and transgenerational," Wang said.
"We also identified key methylation alteration sites that may be involved or responsible for increased breast cancer risk, which may serve as novel biomarkers for scientists to develop novel and targeted prevention strategies."
The study was published in the September 11 edition of the journal Nature Communications.
by RTT Staff Writer
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