Smoking cigarettes can be a pleasant habit for some people, but it is also quite unhealthy. Specialists say that the habit of smoking leaves traces on people’s DNA. In other words, doctors can tell whether you are a smoker or not based on a DNA sample.
Researchers have recently discovered that smoking cigarettes take its toll on DNA too. One of the latest studies investigating the problem shows that there are chemicals in the human DNA which were caused by tobacco usage. It seems that the habit of smoking cigarettes modifies the genes and their activity.
The specialists who conducted the study are not sure yet to what extent smoking affects the human DNA. The specific health damages remain to be seen and further analyzed by specialists. They explained that the information that they were able to gather was enough to prove that there is a modification indeed. However, they need additional data to determine other significant details.
Scientists counted on the help of almost sixteen thousand participants for their study. The people could be divided into three categories, namely smokers, non-smokers, and people who had given up smoking. The researchers were able to find traces and chemical substances even in the samples of people who had their last smoke more than thirty years ago.
The authors of the study noted that such a change in the DNA structure could lead to several medical problems. Blood pressure issues and cancer are just a few examples. Researchers intend to use this valuable piece of information in order to develop proper cures for these conditions.
The researchers were able to identify the DNA alteration as methylation. The fundamental difference between the groups of smokers, non-smokers, and former smokers lay in the variation of methyl groups in their DNA. The results show that people who quit smoking tend to improve their methyl level, which becomes similar to that of non-smokers.
According to specialists, this behavior of the molecules in the human DNA proves the fact that our organism tries to heal and recover after years of smoking. However, the chemicals remain in the body and the genes of smokers long after they have given up the habit.
The study on the DNA modifications caused by smoking cigarettes was published in the medical journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. Doctor Stephanie London was the main leader of the study.
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