The study from New York’s Binghamton University analyzed that if alcohol is consumed during pregnancy, it could affect the next three generations that weren’t exposed directly to alcohol in the uterus during pregnancy.
This study is named ‘Trans-generational Transmission of the effect of gestational ethanol exposure on ethanol use-related behaviour’ and is published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant fund this research.
Assistant Professor of Psychology at Binghamton University, Nicole Cameron led the study, and pregnancy rates were given one glass of wine for 4 consecutive days, at gestational days 17-20, which is similar to the 2nd trimester in humans.
Then, the female and male offspring were tested for alcohol or water consumptions. Adolescent male offspring was tested to sensitivity to alcohol as they were injected with a high dose of alcohol, owing to which they didn’t give any response.
Then, the duration taken for regaining the senses and getting back on paws was recorded by the researchers. Nicole stated that with findings it is seen that when the mother consumes one glass of wine four times while she is pregnant, her grand offspring and offspring, up to the 3rd generation, show increased preference to alcohol and less sensitivity to it. Thus, there is a likelihood of offspring developing alcoholism.
This is the 1st paper that demonstrates alcohol consumption’s trans-generational effects during pregnancy on offspring’s alcohol-related behavior.
Cameron added that now we have to identify how the effect passes through various generations and effects of alcohol on epigenome and genome have to be investigated.
These are molecules through which gene translation is controlled. There have many previous studies that have shown that exposure to alcohol in pregnancy are detrimental for fetus, but no research has shown the effect of alcohol-related behaviors on multiple generations.