Great-grandparents’ exposure to DDT may affect your weight
New research shows that exposure to DDT could increase rates of obesity several generations down the line. Scientists at Washington State University’s Center for Reproductive Biology exposed rats to DDT and examined them for increases in obesity rates. The exposed rats had normal levels of obesity, as did their offspring for two generations. During the third generation, however, over half the rats showed dramatic fat and weight gains, even though they were never directly exposed to DDT. This research demonstrates the disease inheritance phenomenon, whereby endocrine disruptors, such as pesticides, can alter the molecular processes of DNA without changing the actual DNA sequence. These toxins can turn genes on and off, and this gene expression pattern can be passed on to offspring for several generations. This study demonstrates that the damage caused by pesticide exposure can be passed on to future generations.