Children Conceived in Late Winter Tend to Be More Physically Fit
An expectant mother's enhanced exposure to Vitamin D via summer rays likely explains new research that indicates children born in October and November have a step up athletically.
For all you heterosexual couples eager to have a kid born on the day Marty McFly visits 2015, it's time to start getting busy. Of additional interest is that children born on October 21 -- or, really, any time during mid-fall -- have an athletic advantage over kids born in other months. This is according to a new study out of the University of Essex that found a correlation between physical fitness during the formative years and birth month.
According to Tyler Moss of New York Mag, the study was designed "in part, to test whether birth month affects athleticism beyond the so-called relative age effect." Just like how the oldest kids in a Kindergarten class are typically born in September-November due to the layout of school calendars, youth sports leagues are structured in a way that offers "a calendar-based advantage at certain junctures" to kids born in certain months. While the research confirmed this speculation, there appears to be more to the mid-fall birthdate dominance than just scheduling mechanics.
"Why would your birth month, on its own, affect your athleticism? The researchers think it’s because the mothers of babies born in these months have greater exposure to Vitamin D as their due date draws near, thanks to those summer rays. Vitamin D has been linked to numerous in utero health benefits, and is thought to be a stimulus for bone and muscle growth, thus influencing the future athleticism of the unborn child."
Of course, there are a ton of other variables that contribute to whether children will develop to be athletically exceptional: genetics, upbringing, and climate being major examples. Researchers also found that the birth-month advantage comes out in the wash as soon as adulthood is reached. Moss therefore pleads prospective parents to note that conceiving a child in the next few weeks is no guarantee of a big league signing bonus.
Read more at NY Mag
Read the full study at NCBI
Photo credit: Oksana Kuzmina / Shutterstock
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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