Home > Learning More > Pollution Effects on DNA

Pollution Effects on DNA

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 29 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Pollution Dna Mutations Respiratory

It seems as though we're all surrounded by pollution on a daily basis. But, have you ever wondered if this might have an impact on our DNA? We already know that pollution can worsen respiratory illnesses and that it has been linked to a whole host of other health conditions and diseases, but the question of whether it can damage our DNA is an important one. Unfortunately, new research suggests that it may very well harm our DNA.

Damaged DNA

Scientists had wondered the same thing, which has led them to study the effects in mice. They found that pollution such as soot from a factory or road pollution could ultimately cause genetic damage. In turn, this damage could be passed on to our children.

Allergy Links

Pollution is already linked up to many health problems such as allergies, heart disease and respiratory conditions. Researchers wanted to investigate further and ran studies on mice. They kept mice near steel mills and then subjected the offspring of the mice to a number of tests.

Increased Mutations from Male Mice

The researchers found that the male mice kept near the mills passed on double the number of DNA mutations compared to mice that lived in the countryside, where the air was cleaner. Researchers concluded that the greater number of DNA mutations was due to airborne particles – soot. Whether it's from a factory or a car, the potential is there that these mutations might also be seen in humans, not just mice.

It appears that the mutations are passed on through the father's sperm. While no links have yet been made from the mutated DNA to a disease, there is still concern that this could occur. The researchers stated that this was a sign for more research to find out if these DNA mutations might lead to health issues.

New Regulations for Cleaner Air

This kind of study suggests we need to be even more active when it comes to cleaning up our air. Environmental agencies already cite concerns about poor air quality and pollution in terms of the effects on the health of children or the elderly. In particular, people who have respiratory health conditions are highly susceptible to the effects of poor air quality and pollution. Better monitoring of air quality and positive changes may not just mean that those susceptible people mentioned obtain better health but it can also now mean that DNA mutations are prevented.

Understanding the Research

The researchers aren't exactly clear on how these airborne particles are able to damage the sperm. They hope to establish more information in further studies, which could not only lead to improved policies around better air quality, but also preventative strategies to stop DNA damage before it starts.

Continuing to Research

It's still too early to say whether DNA that is damaged from pollution will actually translate to adverse health effects. More research is needed to find out if we should be concerned. However, the potential is there, which means we will have to wait and see what comes of new studies and information in the field.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Rufus
    Re: Using DNA and for Immigration Purposes
    Hi. My biological father is Irish. But I have a different name on my birth certificate. I want to claim my Irish…
    11 December 2019
  • Barry
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat…
    25 November 2019
  • Sue ann
    Re: Paternity Tests and DNA
    How do you get dna from deceased person. If the person is buried where can dna be found otherwise???
    18 November 2019
  • joe
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    one day Joe was wih kyle and joe gave kyle head, kyle killed himself because joe bit weewee too hard. The end
    13 November 2019
  • HELLTHYBYER
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    I remember one day I was alone in my house full of people. It was completely silent in my very loud house. I have been diagnosed…
    13 November 2019
  • Lee
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My stepfather has had my mothers ashes since she died in 2016. He moved away ..remarried etc and is now finally sending whats left of my mum…
    6 November 2019
  • Barrie King
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My mother passed away naturally in 2016 and was cremated. I now have to prove her maternal status to me for birth certificate reasons. We…
    5 November 2019
  • iamthepickkleman
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    some on took my pickkles out of my pond. they where ok untill some fat guy took them. help me get by pickkles back in to the pond.…
    28 October 2019
  • Jeannie
    Re: DNA Testing for Pets
    Is there any way I can get a test done to find out what my dog died from I have samples of her poop and she only passed blood when she died I…
    21 October 2019
  • _xXFortnite GamerXx_
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    Why my DNA not give me pro gamer moves and big brain times?
    15 October 2019