Paternal grandfather’s access to food predicts all-cause and cancer mortality in grandsons

Denny Vågerö*, Pia R. Pinger, Vanda Aronsson, Gerard J. van den Berg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Studies of animals and plants suggest that nutritional conditions in one generation may affect phenotypic characteristics in subsequent generations. A small number of human studies claim to show that pre-pubertal nutritional experience trigger a sex-specific transgenerational response along the male line. A single historical dataset, the Överkalix cohorts in northern Sweden, is often quoted as evidence. To test this hypothesis on an almost 40 times larger dataset we collect harvest data during the pre-pubertal period of grandparents (G0, n = 9,039) to examine its potential association with mortality in children (G1, n = 7,280) and grandchildren (G2, n = 11,561) in the Uppsala Multigeneration Study. We find support for the main Överkalix finding: paternal grandfather’s food access in pre-puberty predicts his male, but not female, grandchildren’s all-cause mortality. In our study, cancer mortality contributes strongly to this pattern. We are unable to reproduce previous results for diabetes and cardiovascular mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5124
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Paternal grandfather’s access to food predicts all-cause and cancer mortality in grandsons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this