Smoking may affect some women's likelihood of giving birth to twins

Cigarette smoke damages DNA within minutes after inhalation. Credit: iStock

A new study provides a possible explanation of reports that mothers of twins are more likely to have smoked, despite evidence that nicotine reduces fertility.

Nicotine has an effect on hormone production, and while smoking may have on fertility, the study found that it may raise the likelihood of producing in women with certain genetic backgrounds. The researchers discovered significant interactions between smoking and variants in several genes, especially one in the TP53 gene.

"Although we demonstrated that there are significant differences in gene variant frequencies in mothers of twins compared with mothers of singletons, the most important difference between groups of mothers in our study is whether or not the smoked," said Dr. Lorena Madrigal, senior author of the American Journal of Human Biology study.

"We propose that smoking and a variant of TP53 work together to disrupt the normal balance that leads to the gestation of a single infant, making having twins more likely in women who smoke and who have this particular TP53 variant."

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New research finds smoking and mother's genetics combine to increase likelihood of twins

More information: Huang, H., Clancy, K. B.H., Burhance, C., Zhu, Y. and Madrigal, L. (2015), Women who deliver twins are more likely to smoke and have high frequencies of specific SNPs: Results from a sample of African-American women who delivered preterm, low birth weight babies. Am. J. Hum. Biol.. DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.22723
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Citation: Smoking may affect some women's likelihood of giving birth to twins (2015, April 20) retrieved 26 October 2021 from
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