Narrator: This is Science Today. University of California at Berkeley researchers have just released new data indicating men who smoke have children with three to four times more cancer than men who donít smoke. Bruce Ames, who leads the study, says thatís because the DNA of their sperm is damaged.
Ames: Because smoke is filled with nitrogen oxides, which are powerful oxidizing agents and they deplete all your anti-oxidants, vitamin C goes down, vitamin E goes down. 107 So the two together, smoking and bad diet, are not only mutating the cells in your body and giving you cancer, but theyíre mutating the DNA of your sperm and giving your children cancer.
Narrator: Ames says geneticists proved fifty years ago that new mutations come from the male line...
Ames: If you have a child, the egg that made that child was made when you were a fetus inside your mother, so the eggs are just sitting there, but the sperm are dividing all the time, so the mutations are occurring in the sperm.
Narrator: Ames and his colleagues are collaborating in this research with the US Department of Agriculture. For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.