Gene Protects Some
Babies from Alcohol
A genetic mutation protects some fetuses from damage when their
mothers drink during pregnancy, Reuters
reported Feb. 22.
“Our research has shown that about 20 percent of African American
children are born to mothers with a particular genetic (mutation), which
makes it less likely that maternal drinking during pregnancy will
adversely affect their child's development,” said researcher Sandra W.
Jacobson of Wayne State University.
The mutation of an enzyme gene, ADH1B*3, affects how quickly the
women metabolize alcohol. Women with the mutation tended to drink less
“Some women who drink during pregnancy will, therefore, give birth to
unaffected children,” said Jacobson. “However, others should recognize
that this does not mean that they are similarly protected.”
The research appears in the January 2006 issue of the
Journal of Pediatrics.
Jacobson SW, et al. (2006) Protective Effects of the Alcohol
Dehydrogenase-ADH1B Allele in Children Exposed to Alcohol During
Pregnancy. The Journal of Pediatrics, 148(1): 30-37.