P2 – Explain the potential effects of five different life factors on the development of an individual Genetics affect who you will grow to be in many ways. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the language of life that is within every living thing, genetic instructions that form what we will become. There is still much of the language that scientists don’t understand, but after extensive research scientists have found that certain gene codes actually relate to increased chances of developing a cancer or disease. We only have to look at family medical histories to know that is true, some diseases are clearly more common in families than in unrelated people. But whether a genetic predisposition actually makes a person ill depends on the interaction between genes and the environment. For example you are much more likely to develop lung cancer within your lifetime if your parents/grandparents have had it; it is likely that you have been handed down a gene that increases your risk of developing it. However if you smoke regularly and do little exercise then you are putting yourself at an increased risk of developing it sooner and more rapidly. Genetics also affect our appearances, body shape and how tall we can become. Half our chromosomes come from our mother and the other from our father. Our appearances tend to more or less a mix of our mother and fathers however some of our attributes of appearance may be similar to our grandparents. As genes can sometimes seemingly ‘miss a generation’ but the genes are still passed down just not aesthetically visible. Our genes also affect the timing of when puberty occurs, but environmental factors such as nutrition also have an effect. Biological influences are things that affect a child before birth, better known as a foetus at this stage of development. However, this does not only include the time period from conception till birth, the 3 months prior to conception are also very important when it comes to a child’s development. For example, a mother who smokes regularly in the 3 months before conception or during pregnancy puts themselves at double risk of developing placental problems and therefore increases the risk of danger to their baby. There are a few different placental problems that could occur, I won’t go into great detail but some require a caesarean section. This would mean a long recovery in hospital putting stress upon the mother and withholding important early bonding time. Another problem that could occur is an early rupture of the membrane which will induce labour before the baby is fully developed; missing out on crucial development time in the womb can cause various health problems. Chances of placental abruption are also increased, which is separation of the placenta from the attachment site which causes problems for both the mother and the foetus. Smoking also impairs the development of the placenta, which is problematic because it reduces blood flow to the foetus. When the placenta doesn’t develop fully the umbilical cord, which transfers oxygen and nutrients from the mothers blood, can’t transfer enough oxygen and nutrients to the foetus. Without a generous and regular supply of these vital nutrients the baby will not be able to fully grow and develop. It also increases the chance of developing placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta grows over the cervical opening. Smoking may harm the unborn baby's lungs and cause birth defects. Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy also have roughly 30% higher odds of being born prematurely.  French academics in an IVF clinic did a study with time lapse photography to show that embryos of smoking women develop more slowly. Researchers watched 868 embryos develop – 139 from smokers. They took regular pictures of an egg from the moment it was fertilised until it was ready to be implanted into the mother. As eggs fertilised through IVF initially develop in the laboratory before being implanted in the mother, it...
References:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_and_pregnancy
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