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Genital defect linked to vegetarian mothers

VEGETARIAN MOTHERS seem more likely to have a baby boy born with a genital defect than meat-eating mothers, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Institute of Child Health at Bristol University investigated more than 7,900 mothers and found vegetarians were nearly five times more likely to give birth to a boy with a malformed penis - a condition known as hypospadias.

Now the team says more research is needed to support the finding, or to show it as a "rogue result". The team stresses that although only 51 boys were found with the abnormality the numbers were statistically significant.

Hypospadias is a condition where the opening of the penis is on the underside rather than the tip. It can be corrected.

The project leader, Professor Jean Golding, said: "There is no reason whatever for saying that this is anything to do with not eating meat."