A study published in Nature Genetics, carried out by an international team of genetics researchers, found 4 regions of genes that would contribute to low birth weight.
Three of these regions, in addition to influencing the metabolism of the adult, could affect, in the long term, their weight, the risk of increasing type 2 diabetes and hypertension problems.
It is vital to continue prenatal research and prevention, as improving birth weight can bring health benefits throughout life.
"This large study adds confirmation that genes have a strong influence on the fetus," said research author Struan FA Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at Childrenn's Hospital of Philadelphia. “The cumulative effect of genes is surprisingly strong - continues Grant - it is equivalent to the effect of maternal smoking in pregnancy; known factor, which contributes to lowering the weight of the baby at birth. We know that a low birth weight increases the risk of health problems in adult life ”, concludes the researcher.
The study involved approximately 70.000 women, of various nationalities (European, Arab, Asian, African-American) who had participated in a total of 50 studies from pregnancy to childbirth.
In addition to confirming that the three previously discovered regions increase the risk of low birth weight, the team found the correlation between low birth weight and adulthood problems with blood pressure.
Summarizing the research data, Dr Freathy, the study coordinator, said. "These findings give us important clues to understand that the mechanisms responsible for controlling a baby's growth in the womb can lead to a better understanding of how to manage any problems during pregnancy."
“The study shows that genes act immediately in the development of the fetus, and have important effects both in childhood and in adulthood. It is vital to continue prenatal research and prevention, because improving birth weight can bring health benefits for a lifetime, ”adds Dr. Grant.
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