It’s too early to draw conclusions about how epigenetics affects health

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In a recent study, published in the American Journal of Stem Cells, researchers are claiming that a father contributes far more to the health and well-being of his offspring that was previously thought. The conventional meme is that the maternal role was the be all and end all of fetal health.

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center examined the effects of paternal age, environmental factors, and alcohol consumption. Advanced paternal age is a known risk factor for congenital abnormalities in the offspring. These have been validated through epidemiological studies and experimental animal models.

Similarly, environmental influences such as starvation could markedly impact epigenetic variability in offspring. Up to 75 percent of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders have biological fathers who are alcoholics.

It seems, however, that the “link” between exposure X and the outcome Y is just that — there is no causality. Given the limited involvement of the father in the reproductive and gestation process, it seems a real stretch to say paternal alcoholism causes FASD.

Read full, original post: Not Everything is Caused by Epigenetics

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