(Telegraph) DNA carries traces of past events meaning poor lifestyle can affect future generations
Genetic faults caused by trauma, poor lifestyle or environmental stress can be passed down to future generations, scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered.
Previously large studies have shown that devastating events such as famine can scar future generations, making them more prone to obesity and diabetes.
However it is the first time that the biological mechanism for the effect has been seen.
Although the same genes are passed down through generations, scientists now know that our DNA is being altered all the time by environment, lifestyle and traumatic events. It is thought that these changes drive disease, premature ageing and early death.
However it was believed that these faults could not be passed on to future generations, with the slate essentially being wiped clean.
But now scientists at University of Cambridge have found that in some areas of DNA, including those linked to mental illness and obesity, some of the faults remain.
In fact, around five per cent of our genetic code carries traces of past events, meaning that trauma, poor diet or poor lifestyle choices may by leaving a devastating legacy for children and grandchildren.