Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genes linked to low birth weight, adult shortness and later diabetes risk

03.12.2012
Researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia part of a large international study

An international team of genetics researchers has discovered four new gene regions that contribute to low birth weight. Three of those regions influence adult metabolism, and appear to affect longer-term outcomes such as adult height, risk of type 2 diabetes and adult blood pressure.

"This large study adds to the evidence that genes have a strong influence on fetal growth," said one of the co-authors, Struan F.A. Grant, Ph.D., associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "The cumulative effect of the genes is surprisingly strong; it's equivalent to the effect of maternal smoking, which is already recognized as lowering a baby's weight at birth. We already know that a low birth weight increases the risk of health problems in adult life."

The article, published today in Nature Genetics, was the second major study on birth weight by the Early Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium, composed of groups of scientists from multiple countries, including the United Kingdom, Finland, the Netherlands, and the United States. Earlier this year, Grant was the lead investigator of an EGG study—the largest-ever genome-wide study of common childhood obesity—which found two novel gene variants that increase the risk of that condition.

The lead investigator of the current study was Rachel M. Freathy, Ph.D., a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow from the University of Exeter Medical School in the U.K.

The meta-analysis and follow-up study encompassed nearly 70,000 individuals, of European, Arab, Asian and African American descent, from across 50 separate studies of pregnancy and birth. In addition to confirming that three previously discovered genetic regions increased the risk of low birth weight, the consortium discovered four new regions: genes HMGA2, LCORL, ADRB1, and a locus on chromosome 5.

Two of the previously identified gene regions are connected to a risk of type 2 diabetes, while two of the newly found regions confer a risk of shorter adult stature. A third region, ADRB1, is associated with adult blood pressure—the first time that scientists have found a genetic link common to both birth weight and blood pressure. The biological mechanisms by which the identified genetic regions function to influence early growth and adult metabolism remain to be discovered, although, said Grant, these regions offer intriguing areas on which to focus follow-up research.

Freathy, the study's lead investigator, summed up the study's findings by saying, "These discoveries give us important clues to the mechanisms responsible for the control of a baby's growth in the womb, and may eventually lead to a better understanding of how to manage growth problems during pregnancy."

"This study demonstrates that genes acting early in development have important effects on health both in childhood and beyond," added Grant. "While we continue to learn more about the biology, an important implication is that designing prenatal interventions to improve birth weight could have lifelong health benefits."

Financial support for this study came from the National Institutes of Health (R01 HD056465), the Wellcome Trust, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, the European Union, the Medical Research Council in the U.K., and the Academy of Finland.

"New loci associated with birth weight identify genetic links between intrauterine growth and adult height and metabolism," Nature Genetics, advance online publication, Dec. 2, 2012. doi:10.1038/ng.2477

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

John Ascenzi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.chop.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study first to predict which oil and gas wells are leaking methane
21.12.2018 | University of Vermont

nachricht Droughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up
21.12.2018 | Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>