Genetic markers for fetal overgrowth syndrome discovered

April 28, 2015

Humans and cattle share a similar epigenetic fetal overgrowth disorder that occurs more commonly following assisted reproduction procedures. In humans, this disorder is called Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS), and in cattle it is called large offspring syndrome (LOS) and can result in the overgrowth of fetuses and enlarged babies. This naturally occurring, but rare syndrome can cause physical abnormalities in humans and cattle and often results in the deaths of newborn calves and birth-related injuries to their mothers.

Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have identified a number of genes that contribute to LOS in cattle. Rocío Melissa Rivera, an associate professor in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, says identifying these genes in cattle will help identify genes that cause BWS in humans.

"The human disorder BWS is physically and molecularly very similar to LOS in cattle," Rivera said. "By identifying the LOS genes, we can take steps toward discovering which genes cause BWS in humans. Because these disorders have been associated with pregnancies from in vitro fertilization, knowing which genes cause these disorders will allow doctors to choose embryos for implantation that do not have the molecular markers for BWS."

Beckwith-Wiedmann syndrome results in babies that grow and gain weight more rapidly than normal in the womb and throughout early childhood. Many children with BWS have enlarged tongues, abdominal wall defects, asymmetric growth where some body parts grow faster than others, and are at a higher risk for cancer throughout childhood. BWS, other than the most severe cases, is not fatal to humans unless they develop undetected cancer.

Large offspring syndrome in cattle has many similar characteristics to BWS in humans, including rapid growth, weight gain in the womb, large tongues and abdominal wall defects. Calves with LOS can die within a week of birth because many cannot support their own weight and size.

"The use of in vitro fertilization is common in cattle breeding, so LOS is a potential problem those breeders face," Rivera said. "It is important for breeders to be able to identify the genetic causes of LOS so they can avoid impregnating their cattle with embryos that are predisposed to the disorder. This will allow the breeding process to be much more efficient as well as safe for the cattle being bred."

Rivera's study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
-end-


University of Missouri-Columbia

Related Weight Gain Articles from Brightsurf:

How much postmenopause weight gain can be blamed on weight-promoting medications?
Abdominal weight gain, which is common during the postmenopause period, is associated with an array of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.

Earlier gestational diabetes diagnosis, less weight gain
A new study has shown that initiating screening for gestational diabetes in high-risk women in the first trimester of pregnancy instead of the second trimester, allowing for treatment to start earlier, can help optimize gestational weight gain.

Research provides new insights into menopause and weight gain
Can women in menopause get the benefits of hormone replacement therapy without the health risks?

Study examines timing of weight gain in children
Recent studies suggest kids tend to gain the most weight in summer, but schools are chastised for providing unhealthy food and beverages, along with decreasing opportunities for physical activity.

New study shows why people gain weight as they get older
Many people struggle to keep their weight in check as they get older.

Being teased about weight linked to more weight gain among children, NIH study suggests
Youth who said they were teased or ridiculed about their weight increased their body mass by 33 percent more each year, compared to a similar group who had not been teased, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Daily self-weighing can prevent holiday weight gain
Researchers at the University of Georgia have shown that a simple intervention -- daily self-weighing -- can help people avoid holiday weight gain.

Association between weight before pregnancy, weight gain during pregnancy and adverse outcomes for mother, infant
An analysis that combined the results of 25 studies including nearly 197,000 women suggests prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) of the mother was more strongly associated with risk of adverse maternal and infant outcomes than the amount of gestational weight gain.

Comfort food leads to more weight gain during stress
Australian researchers have discovered a new molecular pathway in the brain that triggers more weight gain in times of stress.

Women gain weight when job demands are high
Heavy pressures at work seem to predispose women to weight gain, irrespective of whether they have received an academic education.

Read More: Weight Gain News and Weight Gain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.