Ever wondered what your Dad gave you when you were conceived? If he smoked, your genes are likely damaged, and your odds for cancers and other diseases throughout your life could be increased.
A new research report appearing online in the FASEB Journal, scientists show for the first time in humans that men who smoke before conception can damage the genetic information of their offspring. These inherited changes in DNA could possibly render an offspring in the womb susceptible to later disease such as cancer.
This provides evidence showing why men should be urged to stop smoking before trying to conceive in the same way women have been urged to quit. Interestingly, a fertile sperm cell takes about three months to fully develop; therefore men would ultimately need to quit smoking long before conception to avoid causing genetic problems.
“Smoking of fathers at the time around conception can lead to genetic changes in their children” said Diana Anderson, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Bradford, in the United Kingdom.
To make this discovery, Anderson and colleagues used DNA biomarkers to measure genetic changes in the paternal blood and semen around conception, as well as maternal and umbilical cord blood at delivery in families from two different European regions in central England and a Greek island. Information regarding the lifestyle, environmental and occupational exposures of these families was taken from validated questionnaires. The combined analysis of exposures and DNA biomarkers was used to evaluate the role of exposures before conception and during pregnancy in the causation of genetic changes in the offspring.
This report shows that smoking is a germ cell mutagen. If dad uses cigarettes, his kids will be affected even before they are born.