Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here's another unhappy possible Neo-Lamarckian mechanism of inheritance. "Fatty diet during pregnancy makes new cells in fetal brain that cause early onset obesity" (HT: Futurepundit).
They looked at the effects of feeding pregnant rats a high fat diet for two weeks compared with a balanced diet containing a moderate amount of fat. The researchers found that rat pups born to mothers who consumed the high fat diet, even after the diet had been removed at birth, ate more, weighed more throughout life, and began puberty earlier than those born to mothers who ate a balanced diet for the same two week period. They also had higher levels of triglycerides in the blood at birth and as adults and greater production of brain peptides that stimulate eating and weight gain.


Blogger xenobiologista said...

I'd like to point out that most studies on in utero effects, while possibly sounding like Lamarckism to the layperson, are based on sound science. Rats, like humans, are omnivores. It's hnot terribly surprising that a fatty diet during pregnancy would prime the offspring's brain for eating similar food.

However, I would also like to add the caveat that a) something that happens in vitro may not work in cells; b) something that happens in cells may not happen in mice; c) something that happens in mice may not happen in humans; d) something that happens in some humans may not happen in all humans.

12/10/2008 11:41 PM  
Blogger Dave Milovich said...

I didn't intend "Neo-Lamarckian" to be a put-down. I think this result is interesting and sound. Perhaps I am incorrect to classify this result as Neo-Lamarckian, which is why I hedged with "possible."

12/11/2008 10:51 AM  

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