Dads pass on more than genetics in their sperm

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https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-n...180969760/

EXCERPT: . . . The legacy of a dad’s behavior can even live on in his child if his epigenetic elements enter an embryo. [...] For instance, mice born to fathers that experience stress can inherit the behavioral consequences of traumatic memories. Additionally, mouse dads with less-than-desirable diets can pass a wonky metabolism onto their kids. Upasna Sharma and Colin Conine, both working under Oliver Rando, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, were some of the researchers to report such findings in 2016. [...] As sperm traverse the male reproductive system, they jettison and acquire non-genetic cargo that fundamentally alters sperm before ejaculation. These modifications not only communicate the father’s current state of wellbeing, but can also have drastic consequences on the viability of future offspring. [...]

“There’s a lot of inheritance that we haven’t yet explained,” says Conine. “But animals are not just their DNA.” However, Conine cautions that different doesn’t always mean worse. Testicular and epididymal sperm from humans have helped, and continue to help, thousands around the world conceive children.

This comes with a small caveat. It wasn’t until 1978 that the first baby was successfully born of an IVF procedure—and though thousands have followed since, this generation is still young. As of yet, there’s no reason to suspect any negative consequences of in vitro versus natural conception; as this population ages, researchers will continue to keep close tabs. Since the majority of IVF procedures are performed with mature sperm that have cleared the late epididymis, Rando is not concerned....

MORE: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-n...180969760/
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