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Nature and Nurture: World‐first Discovery Sheds New Light On Congenital Birth Defects

By |April 6, 2012|Research|

Hypoxia, or a period of low oxygen during pregnancy, combined with a genetic risk factor of having only one functioning copy of a gene, dramatically increases the chances of a baby being born with congenital scoliosis.

Source Science Daily

Scientists have made a landmark discovery that could help women minimize or even avoid the risk of having a baby born with congenital birth defects. The study is published April 5 in the international journal Cell.

The scientists, from universities in Australia, Japan, Canada and the United States, including Arizona State University, show for the first time how “nature” and “nurture” interact to increase the severity and likelihood of developing birth defects, including abnormalities in the heart, kidneys, brain, limbs and cranio‐facial regions (cleft palate).

They show how hypoxia, or a period of low oxygen during pregnancy, combined with a genetic risk factor of having only one functioning copy of a gene, dramatically increases the chances of a baby being born with congenital scoliosis, a malformation of the spine that affects around 1 in 1,000. (more…)