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Friday, 20 December 2013

Smoking alters genes associated with cancer

Adverse effects associated with smoking are printed in the genes that are passed from generation to generation, according to a Swedish study.

We know that smoking increases the risk of cancer, diabetes and low sperm concentration. Researchers at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University and Uppsala Center for Clinical Research in Sweden now have evidence that these misdeeds affect genes inherited by future generations.

In the journal Human Molecular Genetics, scientists have found that these genetic changes were visible only in smokers. No genetic changes were observed in nonsmokers.

Genetic material changes with age as a result of chemical changes in DNA that alter gene activity. These genetic changes are normally caused by aging. But environmental factors and lifestyle may also influence the genetic material. For example, British researchers at the University of Surrey found that the lack of sleep can disrupt the activity of hundreds of genes.

This new Swedish study provides a further illustration of the impact of lifestyle on genes. It demonstrates that exposure to chemical substances in tobacco disrupts the normal functioning of genes and increases the risk of tobacco-related diseases such as cancer.

"When you smoke, you are exposed to certain toxic chemicals that alter the behavior of DNA, confirms the author of the study, Asa Johansson, a researcher at the University of Uppsala. Our results indicate that the increased risk of smoking-related diseases is partly caused by epigenetic changes. "

The relationship between genetic endowment and tobacco is complex. Recently, French researchers at the Pasteur Institute, CNRS and Pierre and Marie Curie University showed that genetic mutations may explain the differences in addiction to smoking among smokers.

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