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Contact: Vicki Cohn, (914) 740-2156, vcohn@liebertpub.com
Can Genetic Analysis of Breast Milk Help Identify Ways to Improve a Newborn’s Diet?

New Rochelle, NY, June 4, 2013—The composition of breast milk varies from mother to mother, and genetic factors may affect the levels of protective components in breast milk that could influence a newborn's outcomes. The potential to perform genomic studies on breast milk samples is explored in a Review article in Breastfeeding Medicine, the Official Journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available on the Breastfeeding Medicine website.

Kelley Baumgartel and Yvette Conley, University of Pittsburgh, PA, reviewed the scientific literature to determine whether breast milk is an appropriate source for genetic material—DNA and RNA—to perform gene expression and epigenetic studies.

In the article “The Utility of Breast Milk for Genetic or Genomic Studies: A Systematic Review,” the authors describe the potential value of the genetic information obtained from breast milk, which can be collected easily and noninvasively. It could lead to a better understanding of the variability in breast milk and to strategies for optimizing the neonatal diet through fortification of donor breast milk, supplementation of the mother's diet, or maternal lifestyle changes that would affect breast milk composition.

“The great majority of mothers produces milk that matches the needs of her infant amazingly well,” says Associate Editor David S. Newburg, PhD, Professor, Department of Biology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA. “But for those few infants with exceptional needs, such as premature infants, or for mothers with uncommon mutations whose milk lacks the full complement of beneficial components, genetic and genomic analysis would both identify the mismatch and provide the information to produce a personalized complementary fortifier or supplement.”


About the Journal
Breastfeeding Medicine, the Official Journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, is an authoritative, peer-reviewed journal published bimonthly in print and online. In 2014 the Journal will be publishing 10 issues per year. The Journal publishes original scientific papers, reviews, and case studies on a broad spectrum of topics in lactation medicine. It presents evidence-based research advances and explores the immediate and long-term outcomes of breastfeeding, including the epidemiologic, physiologic, and psychological benefits of breastfeeding. Tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Breastfeeding Medicine website.

About the Publisher
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Journal of Women's Health, Childhood Obesity, and Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 70 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.