Genetics More than the Sum of the Sperm

Genetic material carried in spermA father passes more than his genetic material onto his offspring with his sperm. A couple of recently completed studies both strongly suggested that dad’s lifestyle choices, diet and even his state of mind will influence the genetic payload, as well. From Smithsonian Magazine:

Over the course of a single lifetime, our genomes stay as they were originally written. However, how, when and why genetic instructions are followed can drastically differ without altering the manual itself—much like fiddling with the volume on a speaker without touching the wiring within. This phenomenon, called “epigenetics,” helps explain why genetically identical individuals in similar environments, such as twins or laboratory mice, can still look and act in very different ways. And things like diet or stress are capable of cranking our genes’ volume up and down.

The studies underline and support all of the work that has been done in recent years, leading us to put an ever-increasing amount of stock in the growing field of Epigenetics.

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.

You can read the article in full here.

Epigenetics is an important part of the work we do at a Ryzio retreat. You can learn more about that here.