Studies of animals and plants suggest that nutritional conditions in one generation may affect phenotypic characteristics in subsequent generations. A small number of human studies indicate that pre-pubertal nutritional experience may trigger a sex-specific transgenerational response along the male line. A single historical dataset, the Överkalix cohorts in northern Sweden, is often quoted as evidence. We test this hypothesis on an almost 40 times larger dataset. We collected harvest data during the pre-pubertal period of grandparents (G0, n=9,039) to examine its potential mortality impact on children (G1, n=7,280) and grandchildren (G2, n=11,561) in the Uppsala Multigeneration Study. We find support for the main Överkalix finding: paternal grandfather’s food access in pre-puberty predicts his male, but not female, grandchildren’s all-cause mortality. In our study, cancer mortality contributes strongly to this pattern . We are unable to reproduce previous results for diabetes and cardiovascular mortality.
- ECON Applied Economics
- Slow growth period
- de novo mutations
Vågerö, D., Pinger, P. R., Aronsson, V., & van den Berg, G. J. (2018). Paternal grandfather’s access to food predicts all-cause and cancer mortality in grandsons. Nature Communications, 9(1), . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07617-9