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Mar 29, 2021

We Finally Know How Sperm ‘Remember’ And Pass on Non-DNA-Coded Traits to Embryos

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Studies in mammals have shown that the ‘memories’ of various environmental effects – such as diet, weight, and stress – are being passed on from dads to offspring, despite these states not being coded for in the DNA sequences carried by sperm. Now, we have a new explanation for how it’s possible.

The story has much to do with epigenetics. Molecules that attach themselves to DNA can act like on-off switches that control which sections of DNA get used – but until now we haven’t known which of these molecules can carry the settings marked by a father’s life experiences, to be incorporated into an embryo via sperm.

“The big breakthrough with this study is that it has identified a non-DNA-based means by which sperm remember a father’s environment (diet) and transmit that information to the embryo,” said McGill University epigeneticist Sarah Kimmins.

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