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High-Fat Diet During Pregnancy Turns On Birth Defect Genes In The Unborn

July 6, 2010: 12:11 PM EST
A high-fat diet during pregnancy can directly affect which genes get switched on in unborn offspring and influence the type or severity of birth defects, a new study in mice has found. The researchers suggest that a similar link may exist in humans, leading to some cases of congenital heart disease, the most common form of birth defect. It's wise for pregnant women to stick to a balanced diet and avoid eating too much fatty food, the researchers said. Mothers who eat a high fat diet before and through pregnancy could be inadvertently putting the health of their offspring at risk. In the study, pregnant mice were fed a diet high in fat. The development of their offspring were studied using magnetic resonance imaging.
amie Bentham, Anna C. Michell, et al., "Maternal high-fat diet interacts with embryonic Cited2 genotype to reduce Pitx2c expression and enhance penetrance of left–right patterning defects ", Human Molecular Genetics, July 06, 2010, © Bentham, Michell, et al.
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