Nicotine changes the DNA in sperm cells, causing cognitive deficits in the offspring
Smoking by fathers may cause health problems in their children - health science news
Studies in mice have revealed that nicotine exposure induces epigenetic changes on the DNA in sperm cells. When the male mice that had received nicotine at the time of sperm production were mated with nicotine-free female mice, their offspring displayed hyperactivity, attention deficit and cognitive inflexibility. These neural problems were not caused by behavioral changes of the father, but by epigenetic changes of multiple genes. This included the dopamine receptor D2 gene, which is important for learning and brain development, and could be at the origin of the cognitive deficits in the offspring. Further research is necessary to determine whether similar epigenetic changes occur in sperm cells of smoking men.

Read the full story: Florida State University
Scientific publication: PLoS Biology