Methyl groups put on the backbone of DNA regulate gene expression. Some researchers find that IVF babies do not have the same pattern of DNA methylation as babies conceived using natural sex.
“These epigenetic differences have the potential to affect embyronic development and foetal growth, as well as influencing long-term patterns of gene expression associated with increased risk of many human diseases,” said Professor Carmen Sapienza, a geneticist at Temple University in Philadelphia, who jointly led the research.
People who use IVF are, on average, older than people making babies without the help assisted reproduction technologies. Plus, they have problems that prevent them from starting pregnancies naturally, The researchers can not rule out the possibility that these factors explain the difference in methylation. A much larger sample set of babies born to women of a wide range of ages might provide hints as to whether IVF is the cause. If IVF is the cause then why? Too much oxygen exposure? Or maybe the drugs used to cause egg maturation?
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 January 10 10:40 PM Biotech Reproduction|