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Paternal grandfather’s access to food predicts all-cause and cancer mortality in grandsons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number5124
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
DateAccepted/In press - 9 Nov 2018
DatePublished (current) - 11 Dec 2018


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.

    Research areas

  • Slow growth period, Nutrition, Epigenetics, de novo mutations, Cancer, Mortality, Diabetes

    Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics

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    Licence: CC BY


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