Mother’s touch lingers in her child’s genes — ScienceDaily

Mothers leave their mark on their children in many ways — and Australian researchers have discovered a protein called SMCHD1 is involved in this ‘imprinting’ process.

SMCHD1 switches certain genes off, altering how a cell behaves. The new research has revealed that when an egg cell (or oocyte) is fertilised by a sperm, the egg cell’s SMCHD1 lingers within the developing embryo, switching off at least 10 different genes and impacting the embryo’s development — which could potentially have a lifelong impact on the offspring.

The research was published in eLife by a WEHI team led by Ms Iromi Wanigasuriya, Dr Quentin Gouil and Professor Marnie Blewitt, in collaboration with WEHI’s Dr Matthew Ritchie, Dr Heather Lee from the University of Newcastle and Associate Professor Karla Hutt from Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute.

At a glance

  • Some genes have different expression, depending on whether they have been inherited from the mother
Read More

Some mothers can’t drop out in Covid pandemic but have no choice

Before the pandemic hit, Juanita Dutton was working hard.



a person sitting in front of a laptop: Since moms are more likely to handle child care, women's jobs have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and its economic crisis.


© Shutterstock
Since moms are more likely to handle child care, women’s jobs have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and its economic crisis.

A single mother, she has two kids, 8 and 10, one with severe autism and the other with dyslexia. Dutton was employed as a hotel housekeeper while working toward her associate’s degree in computer science. She was doing the impossible: surviving on a low income, taking care of her kids and working toward a better future.

“I was very busy,” she said.

The one thing that made her life work, no matter how hard that life was: Her kids were in school full time.

Once everything shut down, there was no way for her to maintain her studies or go to work in Lawrence, Kansas. There is no one else to provide medical care or educational

Read More

Rice has many fathers but only two mothers — ScienceDaily

Researchers investigating the heritage of thousands of rice varieties have identified just two distinct maternal lineages, a discovery which could help address the issue of global food security.

University of Queensland scientists studied more than 3000 rice genotypes and found diversity was inherited through two maternal genomes identified in all rice varieties.

Lead researcher UQ’s Professor Robert Henry said the finding was important in understanding how rice adapted to its environment.

“We think there were two separate domestications of virgin wild plants that diverged around a million years ago in the wild, and then in the last 7000 thousand years human domestication of rice has occurred,” Professor Henry said.

The two domesticated varieties interbred with the local wild rices throughout Asia.

“The wild rice has pollinated the domesticated rices planted nearby and the seed of the domesticated variety has then incorporated the genetics of the local wild varieties,” he said.

Read More

Mice develop diabetes after exposure through mothers — ScienceDaily

A new UC Riverside study shows flame retardants found in nearly every American home cause mice to give birth to offspring that become diabetic.

These flame retardants, called PBDEs, have been associated with diabetes in adult humans. This study demonstrates that PBDEs cause diabetes in mice only exposed to the chemical through their mothers.

“The mice received PBDEs from their mothers while they were in the womb and as young babies through mother’s milk,” said Elena Kozlova, lead study author and UC Riverside neuroscience doctoral student. “Remarkably, in adulthood, long after the exposure to the chemicals, the female offspring developed diabetes.”

Results of the study have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

PBDEs are common household chemicals added to furniture, upholstery, and electronics to prevent fires. They get released into the air people breathe at home, in their cars, and in airplanes because their chemical bond to surfaces

Read More

Remote learning adds pressure for teachers who work second shift as mothers — ScienceDaily

The transition to remote learning coupled with an unequal distribution of second-shift responsibilities has placed teachers who are also mothers under immense stress, according to new University at Buffalo research.

The study explored the experiences and challenges facing teacher-mothers who perform the roles of educator in the classroom and parent at home, while also typically carrying out more household labor than their partners.

These responsibilities are exacerbated by technology that blurs the line between work and home, inadequate parental leave policies and low teacher pay, says study co-author Julie Gorlewski, PhD, chair of the Department of Learning and Instruction in the UB Graduate School of Education.

“Balancing a teaching career and motherhood seems to be becoming more difficult,” Gorlewski says. “Both roles carry an expectation of selfless nurturing and can result in physical and emotional exhaustion.

“The implications of this work are particularly relevant today, where the roles of motherhood

Read More

Mothers pass on allergies to offspring — ScienceDaily

Mothers can pass allergies to offspring while they are developing in the womb, researchers from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore reported this week in the journal Science.

The study, which employed an animal model conducted according to the National Advisory Committee for Laboratory Animal Research (NACLAR) guidelines, shows that the key antibody responsible for triggering allergic reactions, immunoglobulin E (IgE), can cross the placenta and enter the fetus. When inside the fetus, the antibody binds to fetal mast cells, a type of immune cell that releases chemicals that trigger allergic reactions, from runny noses to asthma. After birth, newborn mice develop allergic reactions to the same type of allergen as their mothers at the time of first exposure — unlike adult mice, which require two exposures. Studies in the laboratory also showed that maternal

Read More

Hypothyroidism in pregnant mothers linked to ADHD in their children — ScienceDaily

Low levels of key, body-regulating chemicals in mothers during the first three months of pregnancy may interfere with the baby’s brain development, a large American study shows.

These chemicals, or hormones, are produced in the thyroid gland in the neck and are known to influence fetal growth. Investigators have suspected that disruptions in their production, or hypothyroidism, may contribute to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder of children in the U.S.

Led by an NYU Long Island School of Medicine researcher, the new investigation showed that children whose mothers were diagnosed with hypothyroidism shortly before or during the early stages of pregnancy were 24 percent more likely to have ADHD than children whose mothers did not have the diagnosis. The authors say their findings also show that boys born to hypothyroid women were four times more vulnerable to ADHD than girls whose mothers had hypothyroidism.

Read More