Paternal lifestyle as a potential source of germline mutations transmitted to offspring.

Research paper by Joost O JO Linschooten, Nicole N Verhofstad, Kristine K Gutzkow, Ann-Karin AK Olsen, Carole C Yauk, Yvonne Y Oligschläger, Gunnar G Brunborg, Frederik J FJ van Schooten, Roger W L RW Godschalk

Indexed on: 30 Mar '13Published on: 30 Mar '13Published in: FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology


Paternal exposure to high levels of radioactivity causes heritable germline minisatellite mutations. However, the effect of more general paternal exposures, such as cigarette smoking, on germline mutations remains unexplored. We analyzed two of the most commonly used minisatellite loci (CEB1 and B6.7) to identify germline mutations in blood samples of complete mother-father-child triads from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). The presence of mutations was subsequently related to general lifestyle factors, including paternal smoking before the partner became pregnant. Paternally derived mutations at the B6.7 locus (mutation frequency 0.07) were not affected by lifestyle. In contrast, high gross yearly income as a general measure of a healthy lifestyle coincided with low-mutation frequencies at the CEB1 locus (P=0.047). Income was inversely related to smoking behavior, and paternally derived CEB1 mutations were dose dependently increased when the father smoked in the 6 mo before pregnancy, 0.21 vs. 0.05 in smoking and nonsmoking fathers, respectively (P=0.061). These results suggest that paternal lifestyle can affect the chance of heritable mutations in unstable repetitive DNA sequences. To our knowledge, this is the first study reporting an effect of lifestyle on germline minisatellite mutation frequencies in a human population with moderate paternal exposures.