• May 26, 2024

Smoky development

 Smoky development

Researchers at the University of Oulu, Finland, in collaboration with scientists at Imperial College London, UK, have determined that tobacco smoking during pregnancy can irreversibly alter foetal DNA, according to a story in The Helsinki Times.

In what is said to have been one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted into this subject, the researchers gathered data from more than 18,000 participants in a number of countries, including the UK and the US, to explore the effects of tobacco smoking on mothers and children both before and after pregnancy.

What was described as ground-breaking research was said to have determined that, rather than changing the genetic code of an unborn child, carcinogens found in cigarette smoke could add or remove chemical groups to her or his DNA.

These chemical groups can permanently alter DNA, leaving the individual particularly prone to cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and obesity later in life.

It is estimated that, worldwide, about 53 percent of female smokers continue to smoke during pregnancy, presenting a significant risk to public health.