|Can a baby predict the environment it will be born into?|
A mother's diet during pregnancy can alter the DNA of her child and increase the risk of obesity, according to researchers, the BBC reports.
The study, to be published in the journal Diabetes, showed that eating low levels of carbohydrates changed bits of a child's DNA. It then showed children with these changes were fatter.
It is thought that a developing baby tries to predict the environment it will be born into, taking cues from its mother and therefore adjusting its DNA.
Studies in animals have shown that changes in diet can alter the function of genes, which known as epigenetic change.
In these studies, the researchers took samples from the umbilical cord and looked for "epigenetic markers". They showed that mothers with early pregnancy diets low in carbohydrates, such as sugars and starch, gave birth to children with these markers. Researchers then proved a strong link between those same markers and childhood obesity in subjects aged six to nine. （点击英国广播公司网站查看原文）
(China.org.cn May 3, 2011)