Reporting research in the scientific journal Cell, Vienna-based scientists from the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) have discovered that not only do fertilized egg cells trigger epigenetic reprogramming of sperm DNA but this process is closely monitored to safeguard genomic integrity.
“When the sperm enters the egg cell, the densely compacted male chromatin has to be entirely ‘unpacked’ and restructured around protein scaffolds called histones,” explained Sabrina Ladstätter, first author of the study. “Using fertilized mouse eggs, we showed that the egg cell actively triggers demethylation of the paternal DNA — in other words, it initiates epigenetic reprogramming by stripping any previous epigenetic memory passed on from the father. This allows the zygote to start afresh and create its own epigenetic memory and life history. This process is not without risks: demethylation can cause lesions in the DNA that can be fatal for the new organism. It is known that these lesions can lead to chromosome fragmentation, embryo loss or infertility.” Paper. (public access) – Sabrina Ladstätter, Kikuë Tachibana-Konwalski. A Surveillance Mechanism Ensures Repair of DNA Lesions during Zygotic Reprogramming. Cell, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.11.009 More.
Obviously, some sperm epigenetic memory likely gets through, so much more remains to be discovered. But compared to Darwinism, this is beginning to sound like a real science.
See also: Epigenetic effects of trauma passed on in mice’ sperm
Epigenetics: The mouse that doesn’t roar is bad dad?
Newly discovered epigenetic mechanism contributes to plants’ decision to flower
Researchers: Epigenetics helps cells remember who they are
Epigenetics: What China’s government famine can teach us about inherited starvation effects
Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!
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