Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What your father did before you were born could influence your future

It might not just be expectant mothers who have to pay attention to their lifestyle. Now a new study published in Science could be relevant to a growing body of research looking at ways in which the lifestyle and environment of men before they become fathers could influence the lives of their children and grandchildren.
We know that many human traits, such as weight, height, susceptibility to disease, longevity or intelligence, can be partly inherited, but researchers have so far struggled to identify the precise genetic basis for this. This may partly be due to limitations in our understanding of how genetics works, but now there is growing interest in the potential for something called “epigenetics” to explain this heritability.
Epigenetics refers to the information in the genome over and above that contained in the DNA sequence. This information takes a number of forms, but the most popular ones scientists have studied relate to the chemical modification (known as methylation and acetylation) of DNA and the proteins called histones that together make up the human genome.
This epigenetic information – which influences which copies of the genes in our DNA are “expressed”, or used – may be passed from one generation to another during reproduction. It can even persist within a lifetime in a person’s tissues and organs, even as their cells are replenished.

No comments:

Post a Comment