New research found that, compared with a father's traits related to allergies and asthma, a mother's traits create a higher risk that a child will develop these same traits in early childhood. By the time the children were 6 years old, however, both parents presented the same risk. This suggests that non-genetic factors related to mothers--such as factors present in the uterus during pregnancy--may confer an added risk of allergies and asthma to children.
The Clinical & Experimental Allergy study included 685 parent-child trios.
"This study adds to the increasing evidence linking the pregnancy period to disease in early childhood. We find this discovery very interesting, as it circumvents any known or unknown genetic factors that could add to the heritability of asthma and allergies," said senior author Hans Bisgaard, MD, DMSc, of the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark.